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Why Legalize? Understanding U.S. Support for Dispute Resolution Mechanisms in the Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement and the World Trade Organization

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Abstract:

This paper explores U.S. support for legalized dispute resolution mechanisms in the 1988 Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement (CUSFTA) and the 1994 World Trade Organization (WTO). The United States championed legalized mechanisms in the WTO negotiations and resisted them in CUSFTA until the eleventh hour. U.S. behavior across these policy episodes offers a quasi-laboratory experiment to assess the sources of a state’s preferences for increased or “hard” legalization. The paper weighs the explanatory power of five theories, which develop rationalist explanations for the leading state’s support of greater legalization: signaling credible commitments (Goldstein and Gowa 2002), locking in preferences in relation to other states (Abbott and Snidal 2000), increasing economic symmetry and increasing economic integration (Smith 2000), or locking in preferences in relation to other national actors (Keohane 1984; Goldstein 1996; Moravcsik 2000). The paper traces U.S. preferences using direct documentary evidence and finds support for two of the explanations in the WTO case: increasing economic symmetry and integration, and locking in preferences in relation to other states. Yet these factors do not alone account for U.S. preferences in the WTO, and do not provide much leverage in CUSFTA. The comparative case study indicates that U.S. support for legalistic mechanisms also reflected a sense of obligation derived from several intertwined normative dynamics: an ideational commitment to free trade, a sense of responsibility as the leading power, and a sense of responsibility as the leading proponent of free trade. In addition, logics of appropriateness were invoked in the WTO negotiations due to the existence of effective juridical processes in the U.S. trade arena and in CUSFTA given the longstanding friendship and partnership with Canada. The social context then provided U.S. officials with powerful justifications to embrace greater legalization in light of the country’s growing integration into the global economy. This finding suggests that a more complete understanding of the sources of international legalization necessitates theories that incorporate both rationalist and normative variables.
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Association:
Name: ISA's 49th ANNUAL CONVENTION, BRIDGING MULTIPLE DIVIDES
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http://www.isanet.org


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p253945_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Cortell, Andrew. "Why Legalize? Understanding U.S. Support for Dispute Resolution Mechanisms in the Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement and the World Trade Organization" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the ISA's 49th ANNUAL CONVENTION, BRIDGING MULTIPLE DIVIDES, Hilton San Francisco, SAN FRANCISCO, CA, USA, Mar 26, 2008 <Not Available>. 2016-06-08 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p253945_index.html>

APA Citation:

Cortell, A. P. , 2008-03-26 "Why Legalize? Understanding U.S. Support for Dispute Resolution Mechanisms in the Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement and the World Trade Organization" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the ISA's 49th ANNUAL CONVENTION, BRIDGING MULTIPLE DIVIDES, Hilton San Francisco, SAN FRANCISCO, CA, USA <Not Available>. 2016-06-08 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p253945_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: This paper explores U.S. support for legalized dispute resolution mechanisms in the 1988 Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement (CUSFTA) and the 1994 World Trade Organization (WTO). The United States championed legalized mechanisms in the WTO negotiations and resisted them in CUSFTA until the eleventh hour. U.S. behavior across these policy episodes offers a quasi-laboratory experiment to assess the sources of a state’s preferences for increased or “hard” legalization. The paper weighs the explanatory power of five theories, which develop rationalist explanations for the leading state’s support of greater legalization: signaling credible commitments (Goldstein and Gowa 2002), locking in preferences in relation to other states (Abbott and Snidal 2000), increasing economic symmetry and increasing economic integration (Smith 2000), or locking in preferences in relation to other national actors (Keohane 1984; Goldstein 1996; Moravcsik 2000). The paper traces U.S. preferences using direct documentary evidence and finds support for two of the explanations in the WTO case: increasing economic symmetry and integration, and locking in preferences in relation to other states. Yet these factors do not alone account for U.S. preferences in the WTO, and do not provide much leverage in CUSFTA. The comparative case study indicates that U.S. support for legalistic mechanisms also reflected a sense of obligation derived from several intertwined normative dynamics: an ideational commitment to free trade, a sense of responsibility as the leading power, and a sense of responsibility as the leading proponent of free trade. In addition, logics of appropriateness were invoked in the WTO negotiations due to the existence of effective juridical processes in the U.S. trade arena and in CUSFTA given the longstanding friendship and partnership with Canada. The social context then provided U.S. officials with powerful justifications to embrace greater legalization in light of the country’s growing integration into the global economy. This finding suggests that a more complete understanding of the sources of international legalization necessitates theories that incorporate both rationalist and normative variables.


Similar Titles:
Organization Matters to Institutions: Understanding the United Nations and World Trade Organization as Legal Rational and Coactivational Organizations

International Legal Contexts and State Power: An Event History Analysis of Dispute Escalation at the World Trade Organization


 
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