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Who Recognises Technical Standards in TTIP?

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Part of the Studies in European Economic Law and Regulation book series (SEELR,volume 10)


Current discussions on the relationship of technical standards to the Transatlantic, Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) concern the questions whether TTIP can provide a transatlantic level playing field for technical standards and whether this will negatively affect technical standards in the European Union (EU) and the United States (US). This piece will take a different approach by switching the perspective to an individual one, namely to the question who decides on standards. It follows the hypothesis that steering principles on mutual recognition and harmonisation of technical standards largely depend on who will be given the power to decide on conformity and level of technical standards in the TTIP. The analysis follows the framework for legal institutional analysis identified in the introduction to this book. The introduction highlights that, as legal applications of regime theory and organisation theory, the acts of autonomy and power by institutions are the real subjects of legal investigation of institutionalisation. This largely reflects an approach to institutionalism voiced by Neil Komesar in the 1990s. As a result, I will identify and map the respective decision-makers and will illustrate the potential impact of these choices on technical standard setting.

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  1. 1.

    Fahey (2018).

  2. 2.

    Komesar (1997).

  3. 3.

    See on TTIP e.g. the survey conveyed by Barker and Workman (2013).

  4. 4.


  5. 5.

    Cremona (2015), pp. 351–362.

  6. 6.

    See for a comprehensive treatise Hanson (2005), pp. 108, 112, 115.

  7. 7.

    Mathis (2014), p. 138 et sqq.

  8. 8.

    Brownsword et al. (2017).

  9. 9.

    See illustratively Posner (2006), p. 1049.

  10. 10.

    See eg. Ferdi de Ville (2016), Shaffer (2016), pp. 403 et sqq.

  11. 11.

    See Mavroidis and Wolfe (2017).

  12. 12.

    Komesar (1997).

  13. 13.

    Ibid, p. 4 et seqq.

  14. 14.

    Similarly already Shaffer (2016), p. 415. (‘Not surprisingly, each side would like to convince the other to move toward its particular regulatory approach to enhance “coherence”.’).

  15. 15.

    Maduro seeks to remedy this by pointing out the discursive function, which he calls the contrapunctual analysis of EU law, see Maduro (2003), p. 532.

  16. 16.

    See for a detailed treatise in this respect Delimatsis (2015), pp. 113–120.

  17. 17.

    See Fahey, Introduction.

  18. 18.

    See Art. 16 (2) Abkommen zwischen der Schweizerischen Eidgenossenschaft einerseits und der Europäischen Gemeinschaft und ihren Mitgliedstaaten andererseits über die Freizügigkeit accessed 29 May 2017.

  19. 19.

    Petersmann (1998), pp. 75, 81.

  20. 20.

    See on this point Hanson (2005), pp. 108, 112, 115.

  21. 21.

    See Pelkmans (1987), p. 249.

  22. 22.

    See in particular the so-called New Legislative Framework consisting of Regulation (EC) 765/2008 setting out the requirements for accreditation and the market surveillance of products, Decision 768/2008 on a common framework for the marketing of products, which includes reference provisions to be incorporated whenever product legislation is revised. In effect, it is a template for future product harmonisation legislation and Regulation (EC) 764/2008 laying down procedures relating to the application of certain national technical rules to products lawfully marketed in another EU country.

  23. 23.

    As witnessed by the presumption of conformity, see Council Resolution on a new approach to technical harmonisation and standards, [1985] OJ C 136/1. On a judicial treatment see lately C-613/14, James Elliott Construction Ltd v Irish Asphalt Ltd, ECLI:EU:C:2016:821, Para 38.

  24. 24.

    See for a brief overview Schepel (2013), pp. 521, 522–525.

  25. 25.

    Hanson (2005), p. 115.

  26. 26.

    See the US Code of Federal Regulations.

  27. 27.

    See for a thorough overview Hanson (2005), pp. 119–123.

  28. 28.

    Ibid, p. 115.

  29. 29.

    Ibid, p. 119.

  30. 30.

    Ibid, pp. 119–123, providing ample examples.

  31. 31.

    See for a comprehensive analysis van Gestel and Micklitz (2013), pp. 145–181; also with a view on services standards Delimatsis (2016), pp. 513–544.

  32. 32.

    Hanson (2005), p. 115.

  33. 33.

    Ibid, p. 108.

  34. 34.

    Purnhagen (2014), pp. 334–339.

  35. 35.

    Hanson (2005), p. 115.

  36. 36.

    Ibid, p. 115.

  37. 37.

    See for a thorough description of the iron triangle Mitnick (2008), p. 1196.

  38. 38.

    Dockner (2014).

  39. 39.

    See on the difference and importance of these two approaches in regulatory cooperation already Shaffer (2016), pp. 403 et sqq; as well as van Zeben (2014), p. 84 et sqq.

  40. 40.

    See for an illustration how many different standardisation bodies are in involved in the US to decide on equivalent New Approach Directives. Table 6.1 in Hanson (2005), p. 111.


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Purnhagen, K. (2018). Who Recognises Technical Standards in TTIP?. In: Fahey, E. (eds) Institutionalisation beyond the Nation State. Studies in European Economic Law and Regulation, vol 10. Springer, Cham.

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