Boston College law prof Frank Garcia has a new book called "Global Justice and International Economic Law." There's a lot going on in the book, and I can't do a full review here, but I wanted to mention one point he makes: Trade agreements should be based on consent. In this regard, he talks about how a consent approach relates to the substance of trade agreements, that is, what trade rules should be about. (See pp. 322-333) As this blog's readers probably know, the issue of the purpose of trade agreements is something I obsess over, so I'm interested in where the consent idea takes him.
But beyond the issue of the purpose of trade agreements, I'm curious about consent more generally. How can we determine if there has been consent in trade negotiations? Can we just assume that all countries understand their interests and have consented to international agreements that they sign? If not, which countries can be thought of as not having given proper consent? Is the ability to consent based on size and sophistication? Are some countries so big and have such great negotiating resources that no one can be said to have consented in negotiations with them?