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treaties, World Trade Organization, WTO, General Agreement on Tariffs, GATT, international organizations


This paper examines how international agreements are substitutes for statutes. The statutory law-making system and international agreement negotiations are separate, but sometimes rival, processes for setting national-level policy. International agreements have several advantages over domestic statutes. Under United States law, international agreements can entrench policies that might otherwise be subject to change; they can transfer agenda-setting power from the Congress to the President; and they can delegate authority to international organizations. Each of these effects can lead domestic interest groups to seek international negotiations rather than domestic legislation. Little difference exists between the politics of international and domestic law: Interest groups may lobby for either the former or the latter, depending on which more effectively achieves their policy objectives.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

World Trade Organization, General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (1947), International agencies, Treaties