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The (Limited) Role of Regulatory Harmonization in International Goods and Services Markets

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  • Sykes, Alan O

Abstract

With the conclusion of the Uruguay Round and its agreements relating to technical barriers, much attention has been devoted to the possibility of harmonizing international regulatory policies to reduce the impediments to commerce that result from regulatory heterogeneity. This paper argues that, as a normative matter, harmonization is inferior to a legal system that tolerates regulatory differences subject to legal constraints, and that relies on mutual recognition where appropriate (the exception to this claim being matters of technical compatibility between products). Related, as a positive manner, harmonization will often lack any political constituency and thus instances of true harmonization will be rare. To develop these claims, the paper carefully elucidates the unnecessary trade impediments that may result from regulatory heterogeneity, and shows how measures short of harmonization can usually address them adequately. Copyright 1999 by Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Sykes, Alan O, 1999. "The (Limited) Role of Regulatory Harmonization in International Goods and Services Markets," Journal of International Economic Law, Oxford University Press, vol. 2(1), pages 49-70, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jieclw:v:2:y:1999:i:1:p:49-70
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    Cited by:

    1. Badulescu, Dan & Baylis, Katherine R., 2006. "Pesticide Regulation Under NAFTA: Harmonization in Process?," Commissioned Papers 24163, Canadian Agricultural Trade Policy Research Network.
    2. Jim Rose, 2001. "Greening the WTO's Disputes Settlement Understanding: Opportunities and Risks," Treasury Working Paper Series 01/28, New Zealand Treasury.
    3. Blind, Knut & Mangelsdorf, Axel, 2016. "Motives to standardize: Empirical evidence from Germany," Technovation, Elsevier, vol. 48, pages 13-24.
    4. Engler, Alejandra & Nahuelhual, Laura & Cofré, Gabriela & Barrena, Jose, 2012. "How far from harmonization are sanitary, phytosanitary and quality-related standards? An exporter’s perception approach," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 162-170.
    5. Bouvatier, Vincent, 2014. "Heterogeneous bank regulatory standards and the cross-border supply of financial services," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 342-354.

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