Lex Mercatoria, corporate power & HHRRs

A research project that examines normative asymmetries in global economic governance

The project develops the notion of Lex Mercatoria as an approach to examine the international legal arquitecture of economic globalization, particularly in international trade and investments. This concept refers to asymmetric distribution of rights and obligations contained in Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) in favor of transnational corporations and to the detriment of states and democracy. Since the 1990s, Latin American countries have signed numerous FTAs and BITs to improve legal certainty for capital under the premise that freedom of the market and enterprise leads to economic development and well-being. However, after years in force, evidence shows that FTAs and BITs have had opposite effects. They have led to the commodification of all aspects of life, turning business rights into an international rule over human rights. 

Objectives of the projects are:

  1. The creation of a regional network of academics and intellectuals to collaborate in building an analytical framework for the understanding of the Lex Mercatoria and its impacts, with special emphasis on Latin America and the Caribbean
  2. The construction of interpretative frameworks that allow us to understand the restriction on public policy generated by the Lex Mercatoria in the form of trade and investment treaties, and how it has impacted on changes in state capacities.

The project is aligned with the core research interests of the Centre for International Studies, School of Politics and Government, National University of San Martin (UNSAM), Argentina.

Period: 2023-2025 | CLACSO project. 

Research Team

Dr. Luciana Ghiotto
Co-Principal Investigator

Dr. Ana Saggioro García
Co-Principal Investigator

Dr. Julian Kan

Dr. Dario Clemente

Gisele Ricobom | Carla Mariela Poth | John Cajas Guijarro | María Teresa Gutiérrez Haces | Adoración Guamán Hernández | Alan Ariel Fretez Bobadilla | Juliana Zapata Galvis | Manuela Ernst Tejada | Rodrigo Federico Pascual | Andrés David Arauz Galarza | Nicole Velasco Cano | Juliana Teixeira Esteves | Sofía Jarrín Hidalgo | Lucía Bárcena Menéndez | Sebastián Espinosa | Gianella Jiménez | María Magdalena Bas Vilizzio | Mariano Ignacio Treacy | Manuel Humberto Restrepo Domínguez | Gonzalo Ignacio Durán Sanhueza | Andrea Sato Jabre | Cayetano Núñez González | Jairo Vladimir Llano Franco | Berónica Narváez Mercado | Santiago Juncal | Manoela Carneiro Roland | Florencia Partenio

Panel Presentations