Consumer’s protection in a global market

The present debates over the protection of the consumer in the global market are formed around two major hypotheses: first, that economic globalization erodes the efforts put in place by governments in this domain, and second, that international free trade institutions, namely the WTO, manage to escape the more and more harmful disputes and differences between countries. This article demonstrates that the theoretical assumptions that underlie the first hypothesis are contestable and empirically difficult to support. Therefore an explanation of why consumer protection is more often reinforced, rather than neglected, is proposed. In contradiction with the second hypothesis, we will explain why such minor differences between countries in the domain of consumer protection, finish by creating commercial disputes difficult to resolve, and in what way it is possible to identify the sources of these differences. – Summary AFRI-2001