Regime interplay and the potency of climaterelated trade measures

The fact that international regimes are conceived within specific issue areas, and defined by activity and geographic area, permit their reasonably clear delimitation. This delimitation is in turn important for the analysis of interaction between international regimes - that is, situations in which the content, operation or consequences of one institution are significantly affected by those of another (Stokke, 2000). Sometimes, such regime interplay implies that the content of a regime is changed, as in cases where components of one institution are used as a model for emulation by actors negotiating another. The compliance system of the Montreal Protocol, for instance, frequently serves as a reference for discussion in other environmental regimes.11 In other instances the regime itself remains unaffected by the other institution, whereas its ability to shape the behaviour of target groups is enhanced or hampered. Thus, liberal trade rules have the general effect of constraining the use of trade measures as a compliance-inducing mechanism under international environmental agreements (Neumayer, 2001).

Three dimensions of interplay between the climate and trade regimes are drawn upon in this analysis: normative compatibility, participatory interplay, and the form and extent of linkage between the regimes. Normative compatibility refers to the degree to which the content and ordering of the regimes in question are compatible. High compatibility between two regimes indicates that rules which address the same activity and geographic area are either substantively consistent or hierarchically ordered. Much of the political interest in institutional interplay originates in a belief that many issue regimes have evolved in isolation from each other and have developed rules which are, under closer inspection, substantively inconsistent and without any clear ordering (Young, 2002). Normative hierarchy can be de jure, i.e., based on customary or treaty based rules of pre-eminence (Wolfke, 1993), but it can also be based on differences in the broader institutional capacity of the regimes involved. For instance, the binding nature of one regime, or the financial resources or compulsory dispute settlement procedures it makes available, may lead participants in another regime to defer to the first and seek, in their operation of the other regime, to avoid any conflict (Stokke, 2001).

A second dimension, participatory interplay between regimes, refers to the sets of actors they involve. The typical situation is that the memberships of two regimes partially overlap,12 and the exact pattern is significant in part because it may differentiate between states in terms of rights and obligations. Among WTO members, as discussed below, states which are also parties to the Kyoto Protocol may enjoy a different type of protection from climate-related trade measures than will non-parties.

A third dimension of regime interplay, linkage, refers to whether participants in either regime deliberately attend to the relationship between the regimes and seek to influence the extent or way in which one affects problem solving under the other (Stokke, 2001). Cross-institutional coordination aimed at reducing any disruptive effects or maximizing synergies is only one of several forms; autonomous adaptation within one or both of the regimes is another (Oberthür and Gehring, 2001). The linkage dimension highlights the dynamic element of the interplay - i.e., the fact that regimes are operated by social actors who might be able to redress the normative compatibility or participatory pattern, should this be conducive to attaining regime goals.

The following sections will examine how these dimensions affect the potency of climate-related trade measures by asking how they influence the likelihood that such measures will be used and the costs incurred by their targets. The section on normative compatibility will focus on the content and ordering of the trade-related provisions in the two regimes. The analysis of participatory interplay examines how such normative compatibility differs depending on the participation of the target of trade measures in the trade and climate regimes. Finally, the linkage discussion will review the efforts that are made under the two regimes to improve the interplay between them, and how various ways to structure this linkage are likely to affect the potency of climate-related trade measures.

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