Trade, Inequality and Justice: Toward a Liberal Theory of Just Trade Law


Recent crises in trade policy and globalization highlight both the problematic role of economic inequality in international trade law and the shortcomings of contemporary, largely economic, approaches to this problem and to international trade law generally.

This book argues for an alternative approach to the problem of trade and inequality, as a problem of justice. Drawing on political and moral theory and legal philosophy, the author develops a Rawlsian model for justice as fairness in international trade law. This model highlights the important normative role of the principle of special and differential treatment, which can justify economic inequality by making the wealthy markets of developed states work to the benefit of smaller economies, thus satisfying the difference principle as applied to international economic relations. Applying this model to contemporary trade law, the author offers concrete proposals for modifying existing special and differential treatment doctrine, and suggests ”second generation” policies for the problem of inequality once special and differential treatment is either fully implemented or rendered obsolete.

Published under the Transnational Publishers imprint.


EUR €123.00USD $148.00

Biographical Note

Frank J. Garcia is a professor of international economic law at the Boston College Law School. He has served as a Fulbright Scholar in Uruguay and consults with developing countries on matters related to trade law and WTO negotiations. This volume is in the International Law and Development Series edited by Professor Raj Bhala.

Review Quote

[T]he book is one of the first to apply abstract theories of justice to concrete questions of international trade law. It also provides a convincing critique of current preferential trade schemes. For these reasons, Trade, Inequality, and Justice deserves the attention of anyone interested in political philosophy, trade, and the plight of developing countries. The Geo. Wash. Int’l L. Rev., Vol. 37, 2005