Politique réglementaire

International Regulatory Co-operation - Better rules of globalisation


In 2012, OECD countries adopted the Recommendation of the Council on Regulatory Policy and Governance, making international regulatory co-operation (IRC) a key ingredient of regulatory quality.

IRC plays a strong role to “harness” and create the common rules of globalisation. Surprisingly, however, this potential remains largely untapped. The benefits are potentially high. They include: 

  • increased trade and investment flows and additional GDP points;
  • administrative efficiency gains and cost savings for government, business and citizens;
  • societal benefits such as improved safety and strengthened environmental sustainability. 


“International rule-making” is understood broadly, from the design and development of international instruments to their implementation and enforcement. In line with the OECD work and to reflect the breadth of normative activity of IOs, the term “rules” encompasses legal and policy instruments, as well as technical standards developed by IOs, regardless of their legal effects or attributes and of the nature of the IO (public or private). They range from legally binging instruments to different types of non-legally binding instruments and voluntary approaches. 

IRC Flower - 2012 Recommendation

IRC mecanisms


The many forms of IRC

There is a variety of ways to achieve regulatory co-operation. OECD (2013) identifies 11 mechanisms, from the most binding one through harmonisation of rules via joint institutions to the lightest form of cooperation through exchange of information among regulators.

Despite the growing trend in regulatory co-operation, decision making on IRC is not based on a clear understanding of benefits, costs, and success factors of the various IRC options. The OECD has defined a preliminary range of benefits and costs/challenges of IRC, and is currently unbundling the typology of IRC mechanisms by identifying the benefits/costs and conditions for success of the various mechanisms.


Two focal points of work on IRC: International organisations as rule makers and trade policy

Current OECD work focusses on two core areas. One stream of work analyses the role of international organisations as rule makers supporting IRC. A second stream of work focuses on IRC in the context of trade policy. Further information on these work streams, publications and relevant OECD meetings can be found under the following links:  





International Regulatory Co-operation

In 2013, the OECD released International Regulatory Co-operation: Addressing Global Challenges, the first systematic and synthetic synthetic stocktaking of knowledge and evidence availlable to date n the various mechanisms available to governments to promote IRC.

The report builds on 10 case studies of various IRC mechanisms, their opportunities, pitfalls, benefits and costs: tocktaking of knowledge and evidence available to date on the various mechanisms available to governments to promote IRC, and their benefits and challenges.




Key publications on IRC

International Regulatory Co-operation and Trade: Understanding the Trade Costs of Regulatory Divergence and the Remedies (24 May 2017)

International Regulatory Co-operation: The Role of International Organisations in Fostering Better Rules of Globalisation (2016)

International Trade and Good Regulatory Practices: Assessing The Trade Impacts of RegulationOECD Regulatory Policy Working Papers, No. 4 (2016)

The Contribution of Mutual Recognition to International Regulatory Co-operationOECD Regulatory Policy Working Papers, No. 2 (2016)

International Regulatory Co-operation: The Menu of Approaches (2015)

International Regulatory Co-operation and International Organisations: The Cases of the OECD and the IMO (2014)

International Regulatory Co-operation: Addressing Global Challenges (2013)

International Regulatory Co-operation: Case Studies, Vol.1 - Chemicals, Consumer Products, Tax and Competition (2013)

International Regulatory Co-operation: Case Studies, Vol.2 - Canada-US Co-operation, EU Energy Regulation, Risk Assessment and Banking Supervision (2013)

International regulatory co-operation: case studies, Vol.3 - transnational private regulation and water management (2013)

OECD Recommendation of the Council on Regulatory Policy and Governance (2012)


For more information, please contact Céline Kauffmann.


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