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The Coevolution of the Trade and the Environmental Regime Complexes

May 29, 2018 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

This presentation investigates interactions between the trade and the environmental regime complexes since 1945. Both regimes complexes are highly fragmented in multiple overlapping institutions: the trade regime complex includes more than 700 preferential trade agreements (Dür et al. 2014) and the environmental regime complex covers more than 3000 regional treaties (Mitchell 2003). Yet, the literature on the trade and environmental interplay has so far focused on a few central agreements. Building on two recent datasets, this paper explores how the two regimes complexes interact with each other by tracking incremental changes at the provision level. It compares the rise of environmental provisions in trade agreements with the emergence of trade provisions in environmental agreements. The paper also shows how specific principles, norms and rules travel from one regime complex to another and are transformed in the process. The presentation concludes that the trade and the environmental regime complexes co-evolve as two distinct but open systems.

Suggested reading: Morin, Jean Frédéric, Joost Pauwelyn, and James Hollway. “The trade regime as a complex adaptive system: exploration and exploitation of environmental norms in trade agreements.” Journal of International Economic Law 20.2 (2017): 365-390.

About the speaker

Jean-Frédéric Morin is associate professor at the Political Science Department of Laval University (Québec City, Canada). Before being invited by Laval University to hold the Canada Research Chair in International Political Economy, Jean-Frédéric Morin was professor of international relations at the Free University of Brussels from 2008 to 2014 and post-doctoral researcher at McGill University from 2006 to 2008. In the last decade, Jean-Frédéric Morin has presented his work in more than 15 countries, has taught in more than 10 universities, has supervised 8 PhD candidates, has worked with 3 post-doctoral researchers, and has published with more than 20 co-authors. His publications have appeared in some of the leading journals of the field, including International Studies Quarterly, Review of International Studies, European Journal of International Relations,International Studies Review, International Interactions, Global Governance, British Journal of Politics and International Relations, and Review of International Political Economy.

Jean-Frédéric Morin is also senior fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), senior fellow of the Earth System Governance Project, and member of the McGill University’s Centre for Intellectual Property Policy (CIPP).
His current projects explore the interplay of trade and environmental regimes, the emergence of legal innovations, the provision of technical assistance in the field of IP, the design of environmental agreements, and the evolution of investment agreements.



May 29, 2018
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm


In Person
Balsillie School of International Affairs, 67 Erb Street West
Waterloo, ON N2L 6C2 Canada
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(226) 772-3001
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