Chapter 25: Climate protection versus trade: dilemmas for the EU
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This chapter briefly explores the key challenges posed by the law of the World Trade Organization to EU unilateral climate measures. Drawing on selected examples, it first considers the dynamics of the trade-climate nexus intrinsic to the Union’s ambitious and outward-looking climate agenda. It then turns to structural obstacles contained in relevant substantive obligations under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). With their focus on creating equal trading opportunities, these rules often lack recognition for the objectives of reducing climate externalities and respect for common but differentiated responsibilities. Faced with a dispute, it is then likely that the EU would have to justify its measures under the GATT and GATS general exemptions. Exploring the requirements for such justification, this chapter reflects upon the ‘fit’ between the trade-oriented WTO law exemptions and the realities of constructing complex climate change policy.