International Energy Governance
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International Energy Governance

Selected Legal Issues

Rafael Leal-Arcas, Andrew Filis and Ehab S. Abu Gosh

The legal aspects at the junction of interstate energy cooperation have become increasingly important in a world that is hungry for energy security. This book focuses on selected legal issues relating to international energy governance. International law as it stands today is not well equipped to handle international energy governance issues fully. This legal deficiency affects energy security negatively. If the currently fragmented and multi-layered international energy governance regime were streamlined for greater legal cohesiveness and international political and economic cooperation, it would promote energy security. Some chapters of the book take a broader view on interstate energy cooperation, such as energy transit, energy market liberalization and energy investment. Others focus on specific areas of such cooperation, such as trade and energy; trade, environment and energy; and energy exploration and maritime delimitation disputes. The book also presents an analysis of European Union energy governance and renewable energy.
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Chapter 2: Energy as a special sector in the World Trade Organization

Rafael Leal-Arcas, Andrew Filis and Ehab S. Abu Gosh


For decades, trade in energy has been treated as a special case of international trade, different from other trade sectors and products. In fact, it is safe to consider the energy trade sector as one of the most significant trade sectors – actually the most – for a variety of reasons, including its unique characteristics and the unprecedented challenges confronting it. Moreover, the ongoing debate over the applicability/inapplicability of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)/World Trade Organization (WTO) disciplines to trade in energy further sets this sector apart. One school of thought believes that international trade in energy is included in and is subject to GATT/WTO disciplines. It holds that international trade in energy is governed by WTO law, like any other trade in goods or services, and that it is not excluded from the coverage of the GATT/WTO law. The other school of thought holds that a combination of factors has led, de facto, to the exclusion of energy trade from the scope of GATT/WTO disciplines. To support their arguments and arrive at their conclusions, both schools of thought have examined the creation of the GATT, its founding members, the various multilateral trade negotiations, the purposes and objectives behind the GATT, the GATT rounds of multilateral trade negotiations, the Uruguay Round and the establishment of the WTO, and even aspects of the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations.

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