Moral Philosophy & Politics invites contributions to a special issue focusing on the normative aspects of international trade agreements.

Mega-regional trade deals such as TPP, TTIP, CETA and TISA have become the focus of intense public debate as well as a central theme in populist politics. The US 2016 elections have created further uncertainty about the fate of some of the proposed deals. There is however an undiminished necessity to address enduring normative questions concerning the current infrastructure of world trade. Many advocacy groups’ criticisms of trade deals such as TTIP are not founded on fundamental opposition to free trade. They support free trade but insist that trade agreements must be made consistent with democraticregulation, the reduction of economic inequalities, and effective consumer, labour and environmental standards.

Questions to be addressed

This special issue will bring together empirically informed normative perspectives to determine whether and how such goals could be achieved through international trade institutions. Contributors are invited to approach this topic from different angles. Theories of democracy and justice within and beyond the state, as well as normative philosophy of economics, might be used to concretely tackle questions such as the following:

  • Which procedural standards should be met in the negotiations on international trade agreements before their implementation?
  • How should the influence of different stakeholder groups, such as consumer protection and environmental groups, worker representations, and businesses, be balanced and made transparent in the negotiation stages?
  • How can corporate expertise be taken into account in this process without giving corporate interests too much weight?
  • How could EU institutions make trade deal negotiations with other trading partners more democratic?
  • Would bilateral and multilateral trade deals necessarily undermine democracy after their implementation, or could this be avoided by removing certain controversial elements such as investor-state-dispute-settlements?
  • Would the reduction of trading restrictions necessarily undermine normative standards (concerning e.g. health, data protection, labour standards, financial regulation, the environment)? How could this be avoided?
  • How might mega-regional trade agreements outside of the WTO either undermine or promote social justice within and across nations? Which role can the WTO play?
  • Is there a trade-off between economic integration and national sovereignty, and where should the balance lie?
  • Which measures could be used to evaluate the effects of trade agreements on the least-advantaged individuals in states excluded from the agreements? Which responsibilities do different agents (states, companies, NGOs, consumers and citizens) have concerning international trade deals?

Papers should be submitted before October 31, 2017 and should not exceed 8000 words; shorter articles will also be accepted for review. All submissions will undergo double-blind refereeing. The journal’s manuscript submission site can be found under:

Guest editor: Valentin Beck (FU Berlin)

If you have any questions about the special issue, feel free to get in touch with the journal or the editor of the special issue, email:

Christoph Schmidt-Petri
Managing Editor, MOPP

Source of this news item: