INTERNATIONAL TRADE REGIMES AND PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS
Regimes such as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which require constant management by diplomacy, must deteriorate over time. They are bound by precedent, but their precedents, created by negotiation rather than by law, are unprincipled and cumulatively erode the foundations of the regime. To enshrine the objectives of the GATT more precisely in national law would make private property rights more secure against arbitrary government manipulation, and would serve the logic of democratic constitutionalism. Finally, reform of the GATT should be directed to (a) reducing permissible protection to tariffs, (b) securing nondiscrimination, and (c) providing negotiating and legal opportunities for the binding of tariff schedules. Copyright 1987 Western Economic Association International.
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