Functionalism, Fragmentation, and the Future of International (Trade) Law

by Joel P. Trachtman, Professor of International Law, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy

This paper makes three related arguments: First, in order to achieve efficient levels and types of international cooperation, it will be necessary to overcome fragmentation, both in international legislation and in international adjudication. Second, WTO dispute settlement has avoided making cross-sectoral trade-offs that would effectively overcome fragmentation, in part because it generally avoids evaluation of regulatory rationales, and in part because its mandate does not allow application of international law beyond the covered agreements. Third, even if we overcame the fragmentation problem in legislation and adjudication, we would still need to move toward majority voting to reach an efficient level of international law-making.

The full paper can be viewed here.

Professor Trachtman’s keynote Robert E. Hudec Lecture at the Society of International Economic Law Conference.

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