Diagonal enforcement in international trade politics
Title: Diagonal enforcement in international trade politics
Author: PHELAN, William
Series/Number: EUI SPS; 2016/01
Scholarship on the enforcement of international legal obligations often makes a fundamental division between "horizontal" (inter-state retaliation) and "vertical" (national court) enforcement mechanisms. This paper argues that such a division of treaty enforcement mechanisms fails to capture how "horizontal" and "vertical" enforcement relationships can be combined in one important scenario, where a state's acceptance of an obligation on their domestic courts to automatically enforce trade-based treaty obligations is matched by an abandonment by the state's trading partners of more common forms of retaliation-based enforcement mechanism. On the one hand, therefore, states allow their trade treaty obligations to be automatically enforced by domestic courts, while on the other, the beneficiaries of such a commitment in other states forego any rights to threaten trade sanctions to enforce treaty obligations. Such a "diagonal" enforcement mechanism is illustrated with examples drawn from the World Trade Organization, European Union, Andean Community, and NAFTA Side Agreements.
Subject: Trade politics; Dispute settlement; Legalization; Domestic courts; Retaliation
Type of Access: openAccess