Transnational risk governance

It was decided by the EU on 6 June 2016 not to decide on the further authorisation of the herbicide glyphosate. This decision illustrates the threefold problem-dimension that has to be considered in the controversies over international trade.

(1) The Governance Dimension: The operation of markets requires the establishment of governance arrangements within which decisions on the marketization of products and services can be taken and conflicts of interests are resolved. The course will hence reconstruct the pertinent institutional developments from GATT 1947 to WTO 1994 and TTIP, reflecting on the economic and political changes to which these institutions have responded or seek to respond.

(2) Risks, Uncertainty, Precaution. Are the economic benefits of glyphosate worth accepting the attendant risks of this weedkiller, which allegedly affects human and animal health and the environment? As in so many cases, experts disagree. The course will hence deal with risk research and risk regulation. Specifically, the course will deal with the recommendations submitted by transnational scientific bodies and standardisation organisation and with the decisions taken by the WTO Panels and Appellate Bodies.

(3) Legitimacy Concerns. Transnational trade governance is confronted with economic interests, consumer and environmental protection, and even ethical concerns. Often enough these issues are both highly topical and politically controversial. The course will reconstruct pertinent debates on the legitimacy of transnational decision-making, in particular the reliance on expertise on the one hand and the quest for democratic accountability on the other. We will contrast a few positions out of a broad spectre of contribution to highly academic controversy.

(4) TTIP. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is anything but purely theoretical, but concerns all the aspect sketched out above directly. The course will address economic and strategic objectives, the replacement of America and European standards, the mechanisms of regulatory cooperation provided for once TTIP is ratified, and, last but not least the controversies over the "Investor to State Dispute Settlement (ISDS)."

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