New Linkages: Market Based Domestic Policy Reform and the Triggering of Obligations under International Trade Law
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The paper argues that the ostensible exemption of domestic social policy fields from the application of international trade agreements actually results in the introduction of two powerful structures potentially constraining domestic policy actors: first, the introduction of new zones of legal contestation concerning the boundaries of domestic policy; and second, the creation of a new and inverse relationship between the presence of market factors in domestic policy and the applicable scope of trade agreement exemption clauses. The result is neither the "common international policy space" theorized by Ruggie nor the pure domestic policy space which existed prior to expansion of trade agreements to include services and domestic regulation. Rather, it is a space the boundaries of which are flexible, contested, and contingent upon both legal interpretation and the choice of policy instrument. Such a policy space demonstrates both the unavoidability of globalization and the continuing importance of the nation state, and potentially exhibits some distinctively new policy dynamics.