Trade, Investment and Intellectual Property
European Intellectual Property Institutes Network series
Edited by Anselm Kamperman Sanders
Chapter 1: The philosophy of non-discrimination in international trade regulation
International economic law – much as public international law in general – is not a coherent corpus iuris; rather it is an agglomerate of a multitude of accepted instruments, most of them enshrined in treaty law, responding to claims and problems arising in history and contemporary challenges to international relations. This vast field encompasses a multitude of regulatory areas, ranging from the law of the sea and natural resources to the environment, investment, monetary affairs, development, international trade in agriculture, industrial products and services, to labour, health, culture and education, to name only the most prominent areas. They all imply their own philosophies and principles within the wide body of public international law. It is virtually impossible to depict international economic law within a straitjacket of uniform values, principles and rules beyond basic concepts of sovereign equality, non-intervention and the promotion and protection of human rights, all of which are at the heart of the United Nations Charter. Inevitably, choices need to be made. This chapter focuses on aspects of the law of international trade regulation, enshrined in the World Trade Organization (WTO). This body of law, comprising some 26,000 pages of treaty text, is based upon the principles of progressive liberalization of trade in goods and services; it subscribes to post World War II aspirations.
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