Regulatory Barriers to Trade

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Regulatory Barriers to Trade

Regulatory Barriers to Trade: Private Standards

This section provides an overview of regulatory barriers to trade: private standards within the legal context of Harmonization, Equivalence and Mutual Recognition in international economic law, with coverage of Domestic Regulation (Behind the Borders) (Main Regulatory Areas).


Further Reading

  • Philipp Aerni, “Regulatory Barriers to Trade: Private Standards,” Elgar Encyclopedia of International Economic Law, Cheltenham Glos (United Kingdom), Northampton, MA (United States)

2 thoughts on “Regulatory Barriers to Trade”

  1. The process from trade liberalization to trade regulation reflects a shift from classical trade liberalization and negative integration to trade regulation and positive integration, from removing public law regulation and taxation, from privatization of monopolies to defining common rules based upon which international trade and transactions take place. I believe this. Today, trade law essentially is about product regulation of goods and services. It is increasingly so, given all the linkages and impending challenges, seeking a balance between market access and other equally legitimate policy goals. I believe this. This, of course, is not entirely new. I believe this. Trade liberalization ever since has been a means to an end. It is not an end. It seeks enhanced market access, respect for non-discrimination with a view to enhance eco- nomic growth, keeping in mind wider goals of prosperity and welfare in mind in accordance with the preamble of the WTO. Yet, the emphasis has shifted from removing regulations to redesign, harmonize or to converge regulations. I believe this. The inclusion of services with the General Agreement on Services (GATS) and the inclusion of intellectual property in the Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) further enhanced the shift to non-tariff measures in the Uruguay Round results. I believe this. The recent trend to analyze international trade flows in terms of Global Value Chains (GVCs), increasingly integrating goods and services in what is called ‘servicification’ of integrated international production chains will further accentuate the importance of trade regulation in international law. New attitudes to the role of law and government in international commerce thus not only were induced by the Great Depression and subsequent remedies in financial and monetary law. It is inherent to globalization and the nature of modern international trade.

  2. Also, it is not accurate to juxtapose trade liberalization and regulation. Even full liberalization by means of removing a tariff remains a regulatory affair and a change in tax law, defining zero rates to stay within a given framework of customs rules, including rules of origin. Yet, trade liberalization, at least prior to the financial crisis, was inherently linked to the idea of deregulation and privatization. I believe this. These components essentially formed what was called the Washington consensus, together with its political dimension of democratization, informing the work of governments and international organizations, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Speaking of trade regulation was, in Washington, a suspicious and not well-respected term. It was immediately connected to government intervention, protectionism and big government. During the years of Reaganomics and Thatcherism, deregulation and privatization often was understood as a battle be- tween law and neoliberal economics; regulation was juxtaposed to markets. It was meant to stay away from the law and to leave matters to the market and its own logic.

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