A New Baseline for Global Economic Governance and National Regulatory Autonomy Debate in the Multilateral Trading System
Ming Du & Qingjiang Kong
ABSTRACT: One perpetual puzzle of international trade law is how to strike a proper balance between preventing trade protectionism and giving adequate policy space for states to pursue legitimate national policy goals. The purpose of this article is to demonstrate that the inherent tension between global trade governance and national regulatory autonomy should not be viewed as static, but should be constantly assessed in light of the new WTO jurisprudence. The most recent example is the landmark EC—Seal Products dispute in which the Appellate Body has clarified, or more accurately reversed, some well-established interpretations of a number of key concepts in the WTO law, and set a new baseline for the global trade governance and national
regulatory autonomy debate in the multilateral trading system. We further submit that any ensuing debate must take place in light of the new rough consensus on what WTO disciplines require of WTO Members after EC—Seal Products.