Free Trade in Culture with Chinese Censorship: The WTO Appellate Body Report on China - Audiovisuals
25 Pages Posted: 25 Feb 2011
Date Written: 2010
This case note describes the background, context and most important findings of the December 2009 Appellate Body Report on China - Audiovisuals. The case is a landmark for three reasons: first, confirmation that the World Trade Organization defines 'goods' (as opposed to 'services') based on physical tangibility, a criterion that may, in the future, have to be adjusted (the Note compares this rather traditional WTO approach to alternative approaches in United States and European Union law); second, application of GATT1 art XX to justify a breach outside the GATT itself (in casu, China’s Accession Protocol), a fundamental finding that may open the door for GATT exceptions also under other WTO agreements such as the SCM Agreement or even the TRIPS Agreement;4 third, the technological neutrality of services commitments under GATS (essentially, a GATS commitment covers all means of supplying a service, unless otherwise specified).
Keywords: International Trade Law, WTO, Censorship, China, Audiovisuals
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