Trade Rules of State Enterprises: a Lawmaking Perspective

State Enterprises are important actors in global trade, yet their regulation is a highly contentious issue that presently troubles the WTO and U.S.-China trade talks. This article proposes a typological framework of the multinational, regional, and bilateral trade rules concerning state enterprises. It compares their similarities and divergences from a lawmaking perspective, analyzing how lawmakers mix and match legal elements of ownership, control, purpose, authorization, function, activity, and industry of state enterprises with diverse policy ends. It reveals that some elements regulate behaviors while others pay more regulatory attention to the firm’s identity. These action-oriented and actor-focused approaches provide different lawmaking options. This typological study summarizes the existing doctrinal analysis of a particular provision under the same framework. It also provides a list of available lawmaking elements for regulators to pin down their policy differences towards state enterprises in international trade, enabling future lawmaking amidst the current geopolitical struggles on these entities.