Trade agreements, regulatory sovereignty and democratic legitimacy

Abstract

Governments increasingly are seeking to use bilateral and regional trade agreements to reduce the cost-increasing effects of differences in product market regulation. They also pursue regulatory cooperation independent of trade agreements. It is important to understand what is being done through bilateral or plurilateral mechanisms to address regulatory differences, and to identify what, if any, role trade agreements can play in supporting international regulatory cooperation. This paper reflects on experience to date in regulatory cooperation and the provisions of recent trade agreements involving advanced economies that have included regulatory cooperation. We argue for a re-thinking by trade officials of the modalities and design of trade negotiations and the incorporation of institutional mechanisms that draw on insights of experimentalist governance approaches to enhance the scope for international regulatory cooperation

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This paper was published in Cadmus, EUI Research Repository.

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