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August 29, 2012

Global commerce is experiencing a rapid shift from government- to private-sector standard-setting for everything from product safety and quality to corporate behavior abroad, according to a report released today by the C.D. Howe Institute. In “The New Multilateralism: The Shift to Private Global Regulation,” respected trade lawyer Lawrence Herman identifies a broad shift  to rulemaking by the private sector rather than governments that has accelerated since the collapse of the World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations.

“This is a wake-up call for governments. While it is beneficial for the private sector to fill this need in the marketplace, there are also risks associated with the current proliferation of rules and private regulatory bodies, noted Mr. Herman. “Governments have been oblivious to this trend and need to do more to ensure private regulatory bodies operate in a fair and transparent manner, and don’t stymie competition or operate as private clubs.”


Lawrence Herman
Lawrence Herman, Herman & Associates, Senior Fellows

A frequent author and speaker at the Institute, Mr. Herman currently holds the position of Associate Counsel at Cassels Brock LLP. His practice emphasis is on international trade and international business transactions. He acts for corporations, governments and international agencies in the trade area, dealing particularly with the GATT/WTO, FTA and NAFTA.