Transnational Corporations as Steering Subjects in International Economic Law: Two Competing Visions of the Future?

Nowrot, Karsten
July 2011
Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies;Summer2011, Vol. 18 Issue 2, p803
Academic Journal
Transnational corporations (TNCs) not only occupy an important status as economic actors on the international scene, but they are also political actors who are increasingly involved in the progressive development and enforcement of the regulatory structures of the international economic system. Against this background, this article focuses on the current status and potential future development of TNCs as steering subjects in international economic law (IEL). It evaluates the role played by this category of nonstate actors in two of the central public international law fields of IEL, namely the legal order of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the international regime on the protection of foreign investments. Based on this evaluation, this article argues that the multilateral framework of world trade law, on the one side, and international investment law, on the other side, serve as notable ''reference fields'' for two competing approaches to the incorporation of TNCs in the regulatory practice of the global economic system and thus to their position as steering subjects in the framework of IEL as a whole. In light of these findings, this article provides some broader conceptual thoughts on the normative guiding vision of an emerging transnational economic community as an analytical framework for assessing the future development of TNCs as steering subjects in the international economic realm.


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