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Environmental Border Tax Adjustments and International Trade Law

Fostering Environmental Protection

Alice Pirlot

This timely book brings clarity to the debate on the new legal phenomenon of environmental border tax adjustments. It will help form a better understanding of the role and limits these taxes have on environmental policies in combating global environmental challenges, such as climate change.
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Fostering Environmental Protection

Alice Pirlot


highlights how this book contributes to bringing some coherence to the legal literature surrounding environmental BTAs. The objective is not to give a detailed overview of the interim conclusions that have already been summarised after each of the six chapters and are schematically presented in Table C.1. Rather, this conclusion puts forward the methodological value-added of this book for further research on related topics; its overall substantive results and, finally, its role for legislators and non-state actors interested by the topic.

This research has been inspired by the critical legal studies that require us to be ‘active’ vis-à-vis the legal phenomenon. Indeed, one of the main roles of critical legal studies is to question legal rules by stepping back from their (so-called) objective nature.1 This ‘active’ approach to WTO law allowed us to deconstruct the topic of environmental BTAs, going back to the history of tariffs and BTAs. This historical perspective was used as a tool to highlight the evolving role of (environmental) BTAs and how interpretations of WTO law provisions have changed (sometimes in an incoherent way) over the years.2 This method of critical legal studies has served to point out the indeterminate character of the international (trade) law surrounding the phenomenon of environmental BTAs. The mainstream interpretations of WTO law should not be considered the ‘unique’ method to determine whether WTO law permits the adoption of environmental BTAs. Aside from the interpretations of WTO law that broadly prevail in the literature, alternative views are possible....

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