Water as a Public Good: The Status of Water Under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade
Bryant Walker Smith
University of South Carolina - School of Law; Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society
Cardozo Journal of International and Comparative Law (JICL), Vol. 17, No. 291, 2009
Is water a "product" subject to the World Trade Organization (WTO)’s General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)? I argue that it is not, because the established, widespread, and consistent assertion by states of public ownership over their water resources through both municipal and international law (the "public-ownership consensus") precludes any reading of GATT that would fundamentally alter the unique status of those resources. My reasoning therefore differs from that of others who have addressed this issue in that I first examine the broader legal context in which the WTO exists and then consider how that context compels an interpretation of "product" that excludes water resources.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 24
Keywords: WTO, GATT, water, water resources, trade law, product, public-ownership consensus
Date posted: October 22, 2010