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Equality in Global Commerce : Towards a Theory of Justice in World Trade Law

Suttle, O; (2015) Equality in Global Commerce : Towards a Theory of Justice in World Trade Law. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London).

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This thesis proposes a novel account of global distributive justice, and applies this to explain and critique the positive law of the World Trade Organization. Despite a significant focus on global distributive justice in contemporary political philosophy, and the prominence of distributive issues in international economic regulation, existing theories struggle to address the practical questions such regulation raises. This is the problem my approach seeks to address. I build on existing coercion-based theories, complementing these with a typology of international coercion to distinguish two morally salient classes of economically relevant measures: those that pursue their goals specifically through the regulation of international economic activity; and those that do not. The different intentional relations each establishes towards outsiders mean that the former require more stringent justification, in terms of global equality or other goals outsiders themselves share; whereas the latter can usually be justified under the principle of self-determination. I provide a positive argument for this view, which I label Equality in Global Commerce (EGC), from Rawlsian constructivist premises. I also consider and reject possible objections to EGC from various statist and nationalist positions. I demonstrate the explanatory and critical potential of EGC through an examination of three prominent areas of WTO law: the GATT rules on border measures and discrimination, and the qualifications thereto; the rules on trade remedies and subsidies; and the rules on domestic regulation in the SPS and TBT Agreements. In each case, I suggest that we can explain the relevant rules as expressing, albeit imperfectly, the justificatory concerns of EGC, contrasting this explanation with leading existing approaches to these rules. I further show how EGC might guide interpretation of these rules, and resolve recurring problems in the case-law. In each case, I argue that EGC provides a better explanatory, interpretive and critical lens than do existing approaches.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Equality in Global Commerce : Towards a Theory of Justice in World Trade Law
Event: UCL (University College London)
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Laws
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1471235
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