Research Handbook on Environment, Health and the WTO
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Research Handbook on Environment, Health and the WTO

Edited by Geert Van Calster and Denise Prévost

This Handbook provides state-of-the-art analysis by leading authors on the links between the international trade regime and health and environment concerns – concerns that make up an increasing proportion of WTO dispute settlement. Research Handbook on Environment, Health and the WTO surveys fields as diverse as climate change mitigation, non-communicable diseases, nanotechnology and public health care. The volume brings to the fore the debates and complexities surrounding these issues and their implications for the international trading system.
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Chapter 7: Trade, environment and animal welfare: conditioning trade in goods and services on conduct in another country?

Peter Morrison and Laura Nielsen


When States deem international protection of the environment or animal welfare insufficient, they may unilaterally seek to promote those interests through trade measures. States may, for example, prohibit the import of fur and skins derived from animals that are skinned alive, even though no fully global international or multilateral treaty outlaws these practices. Such trade measures must be in conformity with WTO2 law, which consists largely of negative obligations on how not to restrict trade, rather than positive rules that directly regulate the environment or animal welfare. Measures to protect the environment or animal welfare that impose trade restrictions may therefore violate a substantive obligation under WTO law and hence need to be justified in order to be WTO consistent.

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