As international trade receives the brunt of local discontent with globalization trends and recent changes by the Trump administration have put into question the viability of such trade arrangements moving forward, there has been a clear trend in using international trade fora for managing regulatory barriers on economic development. This paper will discuss this recent trend in international trade toward increased regulatory cooperation through the creation of formalized transnational regulatory bodies, such as the U.S.-EU Regulatory Cooperation Body that was being discussed in the TTIP negotiations and comparable ones in the Canadian-EU Trade Agreement as well as U.S.-Mexico and U.S.Canada Regulatory Councils. In examining the informal transnational regulatory networks that have emerged from trade integration, it becomes clear that fragmentation has created non-centralized avenues for dialogue among various stakeholders to influence domestic regulation, especially in areas of environmental regulation, energy, and sustainable development. The paper argues that this trend has led toward the institutionalization of regulatory cooperation through preferential trade agreements, rather than multilaterally. Transnational regulatory networks and more formalized means of regulatory cooperation have influenced the executive branch, traditionally charged with negotiating trade agreements, from lead negotiator to a "regulatory partner" working not only for reducing barriers to trade, but also more specifically for the streamlining of regulatory standards that impact costs of inputs along the supply chain. Given today's negative climate around globalization and recent U.S. initiatives to diminish the role of agencies all together to implement regulation, this trend could take yet another turn—one that centralizes decisions regarding regulation in the President and his cabinet.


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pp. 365-412
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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