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Part I The Regulation of International Trade, Ch.7 The Regulation of International Trade and (Democratic) Legitimacy

Manfred Elsig

From: The Oxford Handbook of International Trade Law (2e) (2nd Edition)

Edited By: Daniel Bethlehem, Donald McRae, Rodney Neufeld, Isabelle Van Damme

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 29 May 2024


This chapter focuses on how recent developments in the trading system can be assessed in light of concepts of (democratic) legitimacy. It addresses input and output legitimacy concerns and discusses how the politics in the World Trade Organization and in the growing network of preferential trade agreements have evolved in recent years. Overall, the chapter argues that the perceived level of legitimacy of venues for international trade regulation has decreased in recent years, starting with the trade policy turn during the Trump Administration. The chapter also provides a cautionary note that increasing US-China rivalry and the rise of populism will further negatively impact on the overall perceived legitimacy of international trade institutions.

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