General and Security Exceptions Under the GATT and the GATS
INTERNATIONAL TRADE LAW AND WTO, Indira Carr, Jahid Bhuiyan and Shawkat Alam, eds., Federation Press, 2012
39 Pages Posted: 31 Oct 2011
Date Written: October, 30 2011
This chapter introduces the general and security exceptions in Articles XX and XXI of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 (‘GATT 1994’) and Articles XIV and XIV bis of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (‘GATS’). The general exceptions are key provisions of the GATT 1994 and the GATS, allowing Members to justify on a number of non-trade policy grounds measures that would otherwise be inconsistent with the WTO Agreement. These grounds include protecting the environment, public health and public morals, and preventing deceptive practices. The general exceptions provide a mechanism for balancing trade liberalisation (as a means to achieving objectives such as raising standards of living) with other important policy objectives that Members may choose to pursue. As such, they often feature prominently in disputes brought to the World Trade Organization (‘WTO’). The security exceptions serve a similar function, in that they ensure that the GATT 1994 and the GATS do not require Members to compromise their essential security interests. However, the security exceptions have featured much less prominently in WTO litigation; we therefore discuss them in less detail in this chapter.
Keywords: General Exceptions, Security Exceptions, GATT, General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, GATS, General Agreement on Trade in Services, WTO, World Trade Organization, Article XX, Article XXI, Article XIV, Article XIVbis
JEL Classification: K33, F13, H56
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation