31 Mar 2011
Confidence-Building for Global Challenges: The Experience of International Economic Law and Relations
NCCR Trade Working Paper No. 2011/40| March 2011. This paper was written by Thomas Cottier for the World Resources Institute.
International trade regulation is one of the few areas in international economic relations and law operated on the basis of a comprehensive multilateral framework. The World Trade Organization emerged from 50 years of experience under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade of 1947. The body of law emerged in steps, in a bottom up process and based upon reciprocal interests. This paper describes the main features of this process. It reached beyond trade regulation and explores to what extent the experience in trade regulation could also be employed in designing an appropriate architecture in climate change mitigation and adaptation. It discusses potentials and limits to drawing from the experience of trade regulation.