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date: 20 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article analyzes some recurrent themes in that portion of the field which is sometimes referred to as international economic law, namely public international law structures that regulate economic relations and exchange between states, with a primary emphasis upon trade. It suggests that six features characterize current legal scholarship on international economic law relating to business and commerce: a focus on institutions and on constitutions as a means to enhance the authority and legitimacy of the rule-making order; an interdependence with wider scholarship about globalization; a general consensus about the benefits of liberalization and the international economic law framework which supports it, punctuated by occasional critique; a concentration on regulation rather than ‘law’ in the traditional sense; a fixation with the problem of definition of its own scope; and a belief in its transformative nature capable of facilitating improvements in the legal order generally. The aim of this article is to describe and analyse the broad contours of each of these features before critiquing them and suggesting some possible avenues of future research.

Keywords: international economic law, public international law, economic relations, trade relations, liberalization

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