Dirk De Bièvre
The EU Regulatory Trade Agenda and the Quest for WTO Enforcement

Journal of European Public Policy, 2006: 13, Heft 6, S. 851-866
ISSN: 1350-1763 (Print), 1466-4429 (Online)

The European Union has increasingly called for regulatory agreements in the World Trade Organization in areas such as investment, competition, environment, and labour. Why has the EU attempted to satisfy these new demands by pursuing regulatory goals within the WTO rather than within other international organisations? I suggest two reasons for the EU’s choice of the WTO. First, the nature of issue linkage in international trade negotiations has changed from exclusive exchanges of market access, to the exchange of market access for regulation. Due to the diversity of domestic constituency demands and consensus decision making, the EU is particularly reliant on such broad issue linkages. And second, judicialisation and the possibility of cross-retaliation in the WTO has enhanced the credibility of WTO commitments, increasing the organisation’s attractiveness for issue linkages across policy fields. I show how these two factors account for the EU’s attempt to place regulatory issues on agenda of the Doha Development Round.