EU Policies and Approaches
Edited by Jan Wouters, Axel Marx, Dylan Geraets and Bregt Natens
Chapter 11: Governing through trade in compliance with WTO law: a case study of the European Union Timber Regulation
As explained by Chad Damro in this volume, the European Union (EU) is a market power. A new generation of EU policies aiming at the provision of global public goods (and which are the subject of this edited volume), have a strong impact on trade. These measures often include conditions for access to the European markets, which is linked to adherence to certain criteria or obligations. Considering the economic importance of the EU marketplace for foreign producers, and as demonstrated by this book, measures that restrict market access are increasingly being used as governance tools. Although these policies may, at first sight, have laudable goals, they are not necessarily perceived in that way by other states. Argentina, for one, questioned the motives behind an American example of one of these policies, stating that the measure ‘was not necessarily intended to protect endangered species but rather to protect domestic markets from imports’. Nonetheless, even if the intentions of the legislators are benevolent, these policies also need to comply with the obligations under international (trade) law of the enacting Member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). One of the functions of the WTO is the settlement of trade disputes between its Members. A Member may bring a complaint against a fellow Member if it considers that benefits accruing to it under the covered agreements are being impaired by the actions of that other Member. Hence, the governance of global public goods requires attention to trade law obligations.
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