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The WTO Shrimp-Turtle Case (United States - Import Prohibition of Certain Shrimp and Shrimp Products)


Gregory Shaffer


University of California, Irvine School of Law

November 3, 2010

American Journal of International Law, Vol. 93, p. 507, 1999
Minnesota Legal Studies Research Paper No. 10-63

Abstract:     
In its report "United States- Import Prohibition of Certain Shrimp and Shrimp Products,” the WTO Appellate Body attempts to foster a process whereby diverse interests are accounted for when regulations addressing environmental issues affect trans-border trade. In this way, the Appellate Body decision significantly departed from former GATT jurisprudence and, in particular, the former GATT panel decisions in the two tuna-dolphin cases of 1991 and 1994. The Appellate Body decision can be viewed as a response to challenges to WTO legitimacy by powerful constituencies in the United States and Europe which successfully pressured their governmental representatives to seek changes in the application of GATT rules. The shrimp-turtle case involved the application of GATT rules to a trade dispute over production and process methods (known as "ppms") for the trawling of shrimp, which kill endangered sea turtles. As in the earlier tuna-dolphin conflict, while the U.S. lost the legal case, the developing country complainants may be prompted to upgrade their environmental regulations. In the end, foreign shrimpers wishing to export shrimp to the U.S. market will likely be forced to use TEDs.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 10

Keywords: WTO Shrimp-turtle case, trade and environment, legitimacy

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Date posted: November 4, 2010 ; Last revised: May 4, 2014

Suggested Citation

Shaffer, Gregory, The WTO Shrimp-Turtle Case (United States - Import Prohibition of Certain Shrimp and Shrimp Products) (November 3, 2010). American Journal of International Law, Vol. 93, p. 507, 1999; Minnesota Legal Studies Research Paper No. 10-63. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1702392 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1702392

Contact Information

Gregory C. Shaffer (Contact Author)
University of California, Irvine School of Law ( email )
401 E. Peltason
Irvine, CA 92612
United States
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