25 January 2015


'How the WTO Shapes the Regulatory State' by Gregory Shaffer (UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2015-10) comments -
The World Trade Organization (WTO) arguably shapes regulatory governance in more countries to a greater extent than any other international organization. This chapter provides a new framework for assessing the broader regulatory implications of the WTO within nation states, as opposed to viewing the WTO as a form of global governance above the nation state.
It first examines seven types of changes required for national law and legal practice, which affect how the state raises revenue, how the state spends it, and the principles the state applies to regulation. The chapter then assesses four broader dimensions of regulatory change catalyzed by WTO rules:
(i) changes in the boundary between the market and the state (involving concomitantly market liberalization and growth of the administrative state);
(ii) changes in the relative authority of institutions within the state (promoting bureaucratized and judicialized governance);
(iii) changes in professional expertise engaging with state regulation (such as the role of lawyers); and
(iv) changes in normative frames and accountability mechanisms for national regulation (which are trade liberal and transnational in scope).
In practice, these four dimensions of change interact and build on each other. The chapter presents what we know to date and a framework for conducting further empirical study.