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Francesco Gullì

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Tarcísio Hardman Reis

The present chapter provides an overview of the treatment of wastes in international law through a study of international and regional treaties, as well as some of the existing jurisprudence, in order to identify trends and gaps related to the international regulation of waste. Within this purpose, the chapter identifies three approaches based on different topics under international law: the protection of human rights; the protection of the environment; and economic concerns associated with trade and investment activities. The chapter allows us to observe that each of the approaches described serves to respond to specific concerns (e.g. the nuisances created by waste, pollution from certain types of waste, and technical and legal definitions). The chapter concludes that an economic approach, mainly supported by soft law instruments (e.g. international standards and publications from international organizations) is currently being developed in order to respond to the growing importance of the economic dimension of waste.
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Felix Mukwiza Ndahinda

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Anna Lawson and Lisa Waddington

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George William Mugwanya

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Mirina Grosz

Re-use, recycling, as well as environmentally sound waste management and disposal operations have become important economic factors, particularly in industrialized countries. It is thus not surprising that an international market for waste materials has emerged; waste and end-of-life goods are regularly traded and shipped across borders for their disposal and recovery. In addressing the transboundary movements of waste and end-of-life goods from the viewpoint of the law of the World Trade Organization (‘WTO’) and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (‘GATT’) in particular, this chpater first raises the issue that the notion of ‘waste’ has a relative connotation. What is perceived as worthless ‘rubbish’ by some may be a valuable and tradable commodity for others, and as such, wastes and end-of-life goods will generally fall within the broad scope of application of WTO law and the GATT. As a consequence, states imposing trade restrictions on the transboundary movements of waste and end-of-life goods run the risk of breaching WTO law. In examining the compatibility of trade measures with general principles of the GATT, this chapter addresses questions that are bound to arise when applying concepts of the GATT to end-of-life materials. It then analyses the possibilities of and limitations to justifying trade-restrictive measures under Article XX of the GATT, according to which deviations from the GATT principles may be justified if a state can demonstrate that its measures are necessary to reach legitimate policy goals and are applied in a manner that does not constitute a means of arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination or a disguised restriction on international trade. In doing so, this chapter raises questions on the role of the WTO panels and the Appellate Body in addressing uncertain risk situations that touch on environmental, social and ethical (‘non-trade’) concerns. The chapter comes to the conclusion that while restrictions to cross-border movements of hazardous wastes and end-of-life goods are most likely to be justified when implemented with a view to environmental and human health concerns, justifying less clear-cut cases – for example, cases involving materials that are not generally acknowledged as ‘hazardous’ or trade restrictions grounded primarily on ethical considerations – is a more ambitious task. This outcome is also in accordance with the legal grey areas of the regulatory frameworks on transboundary movements of wastes on an international and regional level, which do not regulate or control non-hazardous, ‘green-listed’ wastes to a wide extent.
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Matthew Rimmer

This chapter considers the geopolitical conflicts in respect of intellectual property (IP) trade, and climate change in the TRIPS Agreement 1994 under the World Trade Organization (WTO). In particular, it focuses upon debates in the TRIPS Council on the topic of patent law and clean energy in 2013 and 2014. The chapter highlights the development agenda of a number of developing countries who are keen for access to clean energy to combat climate change and global warming. It also considers the mixed contributions of members of the BRICS/BASIC group—including Brazil, India, China, and South Africa. This chapter highlights the IP maximalist position of a number of developed countries on IP, climate change, and trade. Seeking to overcome this conflict and stalemate, this chapter puts forward both procedural and substantial reform options in respect of IP, trade, and climate change in the TRIPS Council and the WTO. It also flags that the TRIPS Agreement 1994 could well be displaced by the rise of mega-regional trade agreements—such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
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Margaret A. Young

Climate change is a worldwide problem. In response, countries may decide to impose trade measures that modify production or consumption behaviour within or outside their territory: examples include energy subsidies, border tax adjustments (BTAs), certification and labelling requirements, and import bans. Yet while trade law imposes requirements that measures be non-discriminatory or least trade-restrictive, there is some uncertainty as to whether the measures must also respect the principles of public international law relating to the exercise of prescriptive jurisdiction. Must there be a ‘territorial nexus’ between the objective of the trade measure and the state imposing the measure? This chapter shows that the Appellate Body has repeatedly reserved its opinion on such questions, in contrast to other tribunals. It then takes a position on this issue, arguing that trade measures addressing climate change are unlikely to enliven—let alone violate—public international law rules on extraterritorial jurisdiction. In the alternative, it argues that if a nexus is required, it is relatively easy to satisfy. Neither of these findings, however, remove the need to consider the lack of parity between and within states with respect to historic contributions to the cause of climate change and vulnerabilities to its impacts.