How the World Trade Organization Shapes Regulatory Governance


The World Trade Organization (WTO) arguably shapes regulatory governance in more countries to a greater extent than any other international organization. This article provides a framework for assessing the broader transnational regulatory implications of the WTO as part of a transnational legal order (TLO) in terms of four dimensions of regulatory change that permeate the state: (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 article presents what we know to date and a framework for conducting further study of such transnational legal ordering.

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