A "Fair" Trade Law of Nations or A "Fair" Global Law of Economic Relations?


  • Frank J. Garcia




This essay examines the dispute between advocates of free trade and those who support fair trade (the “fair” trade debate). This debate is explored in the context of globalization. The author argues that globalization has created, and continues to create, a new global identity and global social relationships that make “justice” both possible and necessary. Such relationships have fundamental implications for the
nature of global social policy, particularly international law and international trade law. The author asserts that the fair trade debate presupposes two independent contending foes: “me” versus “you,” and “mine” versus “theirs.” He argues, however, that globalization has shifted the dialogue to one of “us” and “ours.” Consequently, shared institutions are employed to determine what is best for this shared social space and disputing parties contribute to the creation and definition of this social space. The softwood lumber dispute is used to illustrate the author’s argument in that though parties to the dispute pursue their own private agendas and public mandates, they are also creating and defining a new trans-border community. As such, the dispute does not concern ensuring trade law is “fair” for the United States or “fair” for Canada; rather, the aim is a fair settlement for an emerging trans-boundary community.