There is now a fairly substantial literature on private global business regulation which focuses on the rise of non-governmental and private regulatory systems alongside traditional state-based systems. These private systems cross national borders and impact on international trade which, in the intergovernmental realm, is governed by the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO). In this article, the authors argue that while in principle private global regulatory trade regimes do not fall under WTO jurisdiction, in practice they are difficult to keep separate. They therefore have the potential to become a concern within the WTO, not only in legal terms, but also from a political perspective because private global regulatory schemes may (re)introduce the distortions into international trade that WTO rules sought to remove. In some cases, a hybridisation of standards occurs as private standards are recognised by public regulatory structures. National governments may find themselves squeezed between their international obligations and the pressures of their citizens, either to respond to consumer concerns themselves and risk being in conflict with their international obligations or to respond to producers seeking action against ‘private red tape’ which is nominally beyond the scope of the WTO. The article takes as its case study an international business-to-business agri-food standards body, GLOBALG.A.P., and explores the issues that arise for global trade governance from the growth in private regulation.
Botterill, L., & Daugbjerg, C. (2011). Engaging with Private Sector Standards: A case study of GLOBAL G.A.P. Australian Journal of International Affairs, 65(4), 485-501. https://doi.org/10.1080/10357718.2011.584858