National Government Interventions in a Global Arena
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Edited by Frank Wijen, Kees Zoeteman, Jan Pieters and Paul van Seters
Chapter 6: National Environmental Policies and Multilateral Trade Rules
6. National Environmental Policies and Multilateral Trade Rules Marion Jansen and Alexander Keck1 SUMMARY In this chapter, we provide an overview of institutional, economic, and legal aspects of the relationship between national environmental policies and the multilateral trading system, with a particular focus on the challenges involved in examining trade-related environmental policies in the context of dispute settlement at the World Trade Organization (WTO). We argue that differences in national choices of environmental policies are likely to be determined by a combination of three factors: differences in environmental objectives, differences in the perceived effectiveness of different policy instruments, and protectionist intents. The WTO Dispute Settlement System faces the difficult task of disentangling these three factors. Economic thinking can provide general guidance, but in practice may fail to provide straightforward answers as to how to approach this task. Our discussion of WTO provisions and jurisprudence reveals that there continues to be a lively debate on the possible interpretation of certain rules. Past experience, however, has shown that existing WTO law has proven capable of dealing with environmentrelated trade disputes. INTRODUCTION In the last decades, the intensity of commercial links between countries around the globe has increased significantly. Owing to lower 1 The opinions expressed in this chapter should be attributed to the authors. They are not meant to represent the positions or opinions of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Labour Organization (ILO), and their members, and are without prejudice to members’ rights and obligations under the WTO. The authors...
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