Investigating supranationality in rule-making related to preferential trade agreements
The incorporation of regulatory cooperation mechanisms in preferential trade agreements (PTAs) has been widely discussed by several commentators. The debates around the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) have led to a discussion in the EU on the merits of this “regulatory turn” in trade policy. From “regulatory chill” effect to platforms for exporting EU standards globally, regulatory cooperation remains fairly new among the tools at disposal for trade liberalisation. This chapter attempts to shed new light on this instrument by investigating the claim that regulatory cooperation in PTAs leads to supranational rule-making. To do so, it performed a legal assessment of five committees contained in CETA: the CETA Joint Committee, Sectoral Groups, the Regulatory Cooperation Forum (RCF), the Joint Committee on Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications (JCMRPQ) and the Committee on Trade and Sustainable Development (CTSD). These committees were selected on the basis of their role as regulatory enablers in CETA. The chapter tested the legal competences of each committee in order to determine their regulatory powers. From the evaluation performed, it appears that none of these mechanisms are able to produce rules at the supranational level. These findings are in conformity with previous scientific literature on power delegation to international institutions. The chapter concludes on the merits of investigating the interaction between trade agreement mechanisms and domestic regulatory bodies for future research on rule-making.