How does a standard-setting body based in the United States influence domestic regulatory contests in rising powers like China and India? And why might it be more successful in imposing its norms in one country or another? This paper answers these questions through a comparative analysis of domestic regulatory contention over pesticide residue standards for soft drinks in India and over nutritional standards for infant formula in China. Drawing together insights from science and technology studies, political economic approaches to standards and science, and the institutional approach to hegemonic transitions, I make three arguments. First, standard-setting bodies are increasingly available for hire by transnational firms; however, as their authority is not automatic, they are strategically cultivating scientific and policy networks in rising powers. Second, states in rising powers respond differently to the advocacy of standard-setting bodies, depending on distinct patterns of inter-firm and inter-state competition across the sectors to be regulated. Finally, because both standard-setting bodies and states in rising powers are compelled to build new coalitions of scientific and political actors to wield influence, these struggles are recasting the geographies of institutional power over standards in new ways.

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