Water as a Public Good: The Status of Water Under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade

24 Pages Posted: 22 Oct 2010

See all articles by Bryant Walker Smith

Bryant Walker Smith

University of South Carolina - Law Library; Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society; Program on Law and Mobility

Date Written: 2009

Abstract

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.

Keywords: WTO, GATT, water, water resources, trade law, product, public-ownership consensus

Suggested Citation

Smith, Bryant Walker, Water as a Public Good: The Status of Water Under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (2009). Cardozo Journal of International and Comparative Law (JICL), Vol. 17, No. 291, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1695090

Bryant Walker Smith (Contact Author)

University of South Carolina - Law Library ( email )

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Columbia, SC 29208
United States

Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society

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United States

HOME PAGE: http://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/bws

Program on Law and Mobility ( email )

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Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1215
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