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How do global trade rules evolve? Strategic sequencing in international economic law

journal contribution
posted on 2023-08-21, 23:26 authored by Matthew CastleMatthew Castle
How do global trade rules evolve? This article argues that agreements create precedent that shapes subsequent negotiations, and policymakers exploit this precedent. Specifically, states sequence agreements, using negotiations with likeminded or relatively less important partners to establish model rules for subsequent use where negotiations will be more challenging. By institutionalizing negotiating positions where stakes are low, negotiators seek to improve the odds of replicating preferred terms in later, more challenging deals. A two-stage regression analysis on trade agreement design from 1965 to 2016 and qualitative probes from the UK and New Zealand support the argument: agreements with less important partners are presented as strategic opportunities to innovate and set precedent. Legal language has a way of sticking around, and states know it. States sign agreements with an eye to the future.

History

Preferred citation

Castle, M. A. (2023). How do global trade rules evolve? Strategic sequencing in international economic law. Review of International Political Economy, 30(4), 1387-1412. https://doi.org/10.1080/09692290.2022.2099949

Journal title

Review of International Political Economy

Volume

30

Issue

4

Publication date

2023-01-01

Pagination

1387-1412

Publisher

Informa UK Limited

Publication status

Published

Online publication date

2022-07-25

ISSN

0969-2290

eISSN

1466-4526

Language

en