The Economic Sanctions Over the Ukraine Conflict and the WTO: 'Catch-XXI' and the Revival of the Debate on Security Exceptions
Journal of World Trade, 2015, Vol. 49, No. 5, pp. 891-914
Posted: 27 Apr 2016
Date Written: 2015
The international conflict over the events in Ukraine led to the application of unilateral restrictive measures by the parties involved the European Union, the United States and the Russian Federation all of which are World Trade Organization (WTO) members and permanent members of the UN Security Council. It has been alleged by all sides that specified restrictions on trade in goods and services may constitute a violation of WTO obligations. The possibility of a challenge of the restrictive measures using the WTO dispute settlement mechanism revived the debate on the invocation of security exceptions allowing WTO members to apply otherwise inconsistent measures justified by their 'essential security interests'. The present article aims at providing a critical analysis of the restrictive measures adopted by the parties and the perspectives for invoking the security exception in case of eventual WTO dispute settlement. The article highlights the ambiguity in the interpretation of the security exceptions and questions the suitability of the WTO dispute settlement mechanism for the resolution of the current Ukraine crisis.
Keywords: WTO, dispute settlement, enforcement, sanctions, European Union, United States, Russia, Ukraine, GATT, national security
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