Document Type


Publication Date

February 2005


Focusing on the tension between free trade and social regulation, this Article argues that the WTO, in alliance with other international institutions, must develop a synergistic, nonentropic linkage within the constitutional structure of the global trading system. In the analysis set forth within the article, considerable emphasis is placed on the concept of a “trade constitution.” This is because any practical prescriptions for achieving the desired synergy must necessarily flow from an accurate understanding of the capabilities and constraints of legal and political realities inherent to a broad multisphere trading system composed of Member states, the WTO, and other international organizations. This global trading system has come to require a new telos capable of transcending the narrow purpose of antiprotection while at the same time connoting a much broader ideal of “integration” that ensures that both trade values and social values are upheld not in a competing, but in a coherent and synergetic fashion. This constitutional vision, which is embedded in the concept of linkage itself, inevitably touches on the profound issue of “legitimacy.” There is an inseparable connection between the ever growing quantity of international business transactions and the discipline provided by international trade law. If the dual goal of free markets and social regulation is achieved in a coherent way within the far reaching field of international economic law, it will make the global trading system operate in a more stable and predictable way, and thus enhance its general acceptability not only among governments, but also among ordinary people.