Support for International Trade Law: The US and the EU Compared

Eckhardt, Jappe; Elsig, Manfred (2015). Support for International Trade Law: The US and the EU Compared. International Journal of Constitutional Law, 13(4), pp. 966-986. Oxford University Press 10.1093/icon/mov056

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In this article we compare United States and European Union support for bilateral and multilateral international trade law. We assess the support for international law of both trading blocs by focusing on the following four dimensions: leadership, consent, compliance and internalization. Although we find strong support for international trade law from both the US and the EU in general, we also witness some variation, most notably in relation to the design of preferential trade agreements (PTAs) and compliance with World Trade Organization (WTO) law. Turning to explaining these (moderate) differences, we argue that outcomes in US trade policy can best be explained by a domestic political factor, namely the direct influence of interest groups. Although the involvement of societal interests also goes a long way in explaining EU behavior, it does not tell the entire story. We posit that, in EU trade policy, institutions are a particular conditioning factor that needs to be stressed. Moreover, we suggest that foreign policy considerations in managing trade relations have characterized EU’s support for international trade law.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Other Institutions > Teaching Staff, Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences
02 Faculty of Law > Department of Economic Law > World Trade Institute
10 Strategic Research Centers > World Trade Institute

11 Centers of Competence > KPM Center for Public Management

UniBE Contributor:

Elsig, Manfred


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 380 Commerce, communications & transportation
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 320 Political science
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 340 Law


Oxford University Press




Pablo Rahul Das

Date Deposited:

09 May 2017 09:54

Last Modified:

20 Feb 2020 08:51

Publisher DOI:





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