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Keywords:

  • advertising;
  • certification;
  • enforcement;
  • food safety;
  • transnational private regulation

Abstract

This paper examines to what extent the background presence of state regulatory capacity – at times referred to as the “regulatory gorilla in the closet” – is a necessary precondition for the effective enforcement of transnational private regulation. By drawing on regulatory regimes in the areas of advertising and food safety, it identifies conditions under which (the potential of) public regulatory intervention can bolster the capacity of private actors to enforce transnational private regulation. These involve the overlap between norms, objectives, and interests of public and private regulation; the institutional design of regulatory enforcement; compliance with due process standards; and information management and data sharing. The paper argues that while public intervention remains important for the effective enforcement of transnational private regulation, governmental actors – both national and international – should create the necessary preconditions to strengthen private regulatory enforcement, as it can also enhance their own regulatory capacity, in particular, in transnational contexts.