Mega-regional trade agreements represent the latest attempt of states to shape and to impact economic globalisation through international cooperation. They pursue a threefold goal: Increasing economic benefits for the participating countries through the reduction of non-tariff barriers to trade and investments ‘behind the borders’; consolidating regional cooperation for geopolitical purposes and strengthening the regulatory capacity of the participating countries through elevating the setting of regulatory standards at the international level. In realising this goal, mega-regionals have to be able to react to market developments at the global level and to regulatory developments within the participating states. In order to serve their purpose, these agreements have to be dynamic. Such dynamisation can be achieved by joint committees of the participating countries equipped with decision-making rights. The CETA committee system represents an embryo of how a well-functioning governance structure of mega-regionals could look like. Yet, the more decision-making rights are delegated from national lawmakers to transnational treaty bodies, the more there is a need to ensure the democratic legitimacy when making use of delegated powers. This requires, at the national level of the participating states, a better inclusion of national Parliaments in the ex post control of such decisions. But also at the level of the international cooperation the delegation of extensive powers calls for an own mechanism to ensure the democratic legitimacy of the treaty bodies’ actions. The establishment of a Parliamentary Assembly would be recommendable. As regards CETA and its governance, an enhanced inclusion in the ex post control of CETA committee decisions of the Parliaments of the contracting parties appears to be sufficient to close the detected democratic deficit because of its comprehensive scope. The powers currently conferred upon CETA bodies are more extensive than in any previous EU trade agreement but not so extensive it would require democratic control at CETA level.
Questions of International Law
Erasmus School of Law

Repasi, R. (2017). Dynamisation of International Trade Cooperation - Powers and limits of Joint Committees in CETA. Questions of International Law, 41, 73–95. Retrieved from