Nested and Overlapping Regimes in the Transatlantic Banana Trade Dispute

Northwestern Law & Econ Research Paper No. 05-22

Journal of European Public Policy, Vol. 13, No. 3, pp. 362-382, 2006

21 Pages Posted: 11 Aug 2005  

Karen J. Alter

Northwestern University - Department of Political Science; University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Law - iCourts Center of Excellence

Sophie Meunier-Aitsahalia

Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

Abstract

The decade long trans-Atlantic banana dispute was not a traditional trade conflict stemming from antagonistic producers' interests. Instead, this article argues that the banana dispute is one of the most complex illustrations of the legal and political difficulties created by the nesting and overlapping of international institutions and commitments. The contested Europe-wide banana policy was an artifact of nesting - the fruit of efforts to reconcile the single market with Lome obligations which then ran afoul of WTO rules. Using counter-factual analysis, this article explores how the nesting of international commitments contributed to creating the dispute, provided forum shopping opportunities which themselves complicated the options of decision-makers, and hindered resolution of what would otherwise be a pretty straightforward trade dispute.

We then draw out implications from this case for the EU, an institution increasingly nested within multilateral mechanisms, and for the issue of the nesting of international institutions in general.

Suggested Citation

Alter, Karen J. and Meunier-Aitsahalia, Sophie, Nested and Overlapping Regimes in the Transatlantic Banana Trade Dispute. Northwestern Law & Econ Research Paper No. 05-22; Journal of European Public Policy, Vol. 13, No. 3, pp. 362-382, 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=774212

Karen J. Alter (Contact Author)

Northwestern University - Department of Political Science ( email )

601 University Place
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Law - iCourts Center of Excellence ( email )

Studiestraede 6
Studiestrade 6
Copenhagen, DK-1455
Denmark

Sophie Meunier-Aitsahalia

Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs ( email )

Princeton University
Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States

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