How regulations became the crux of trade politics
Title: How regulations became the crux of trade politics
Author: WINSLETT, Gary
Citation: Journal of world trade, 2016, Vol. 50, No. 1. pp. 47-70
Whereas tariffs were once the main barrier to international trade, cross-national differences in regulation now constitute the most significant impediment to trade and are therefore the centrepiece issues in contemporary trade negotiations. That change has profound implications for the global economy and for international political economy scholarship. This article explains how that change occurred in order to explore how the incorporation of regulation affects trade and illuminate the politics that surround the negotiation over these regulatory trade barriers. As tariffs and other non-regulatory measures were reduced, the extent to which cross-national differences in regulation impeded trade became more apparent, especially to multinational firms which pushed for attenuations of these regulatory trade barriers. Once regulations became the subject of trade negotiations in the 1980s, civil society groups with a vested interested in those regulations became involved in trade politics to a greater degree than ever before. These developments have shaped the major trade negotiations underway today and are likely to remain at the centre of trade politics for the foreseeable future.
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