The international community should adopt more common standards, or common gauges, to help maximize global trade. Nations can capitalize on the international division of labor inherent in global trade by making many more of the individual parts of the global value chain interchangeable. The resulting global common gauge would lower costs and increase efficiency, productivity, quality, reliability, and diversity of products. To make common commercial standards, however, nations must refrain from promulgating trade barriers, such as domestic standards, that unnecessarily insulate and advantage national producers while discriminating against foreign firms. To combat this “regulatory protectionism,” the World Trade Organization should expand upon existing agreements, such as the TBT and SPS Agreements, that encourage WTO Members to adopt regulations that are no more restrictive on trade than necessary to achieve stated goals. This action, combined with the pressure of economic necessity, will develop a common gauge that will harmonize common standards and maximize global trade.
Clough Center Lecture: A Common Gauge: Harmonization
and International Law,
B.C. Int'l & Comp. L. Rev.