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Like Products, Health and Environmental Exceptions: The Interpretation of PPMs in Recent WTO Trade Dispute Cases


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  • Read, Robert


This article is concerned with the ongoing debate on process and production methods (PPMs) and the extent to which existing GATT 1994 articles and WTO agreements are able to deal with these issues. The article provides an overview of GATT articles III.4 on like products and XX on general exceptions as well as the SPS and TBT agreements. It then summarises four recent GATT/WTO trade dispute cases involving PPM issues: tuna-dolphin; shrimp-turtle; gasoline standards; and asbestos. The WTO panel and appellate body decisions in these cases are analysed with regard to articles III.4 and XX in the context of the evolution of WTO case law with respect to PPMs. Inferences are also drawn concerning the likely implications for a potential trade dispute over GM products between the EU and the United States. The article then draws some policy conclusions.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Estey Centre for Law and Economics in International Trade in its journal Estey Centre Journal of International Law and Trade Policy.

Volume (Year): 05 (2004)
Issue (Month): 2 ()

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Handle: RePEc:ags:ecjilt:23900

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Keywords: asbestos; environment; exceptions; gasoline; GM; health; like products; PPMs; shrimp-turtle; trade disputes; tuna-dolphin; WTO; International Relations/Trade;


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  1. Colyer, Dale, 2003. "Agriculture and Environmental Issues in Free Trade Agreements," Estey Centre Journal of International Law and Trade Policy, Estey Centre for Law and Economics in International Trade, vol. 4(2).
  2. Bhagwati, Jagdish, 2000. "On thinking clearly about the linkage between trade and the environment," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 5(04), pages 483-529, October.
  3. Sam Laird, 2001. "Dolphins, Turtles, Mad Cows and Butterflies - A Look at the Multilateral Trading System in the 21st Century," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 24(4), pages 453-481, 04.
  4. Holmes, Peter & Rollo, Jim & Young, Alasdair R., 2003. "Emerging trends in WTO dispute settlement : back to the GATT?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3133, The World Bank.
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Cited by:
  1. Di Lucia, Lorenzo, 2010. "External governance and the EU policy for sustainable biofuels, the case of Mozambique," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(11), pages 7395-7403, November.
  2. JINJI Naoto, 2007. "Illegal Extractions of Renewable Resources and International Trade with Costly Enforcement of Property Rights," Discussion papers 07011, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).


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