Community Interests in World Trade Law
Beiträge zum Transnationalen Wirtschaftsrechtk, Heft 141, Dezember 2016
43 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2016 Last revised: 16 Dec 2016
Date Written: December 12, 2016
This paper explores the nature of WTO law. Specifically, it examines the question whether and to what extent WTO law protects community interests. It thereby revisits, seen through the lens of the community interest concept, the interrelated scholarly debates about whether the WTO’s legal system resembles a “constitution” or a “contract” and whether WTO obligations are “bilateral” or “collective”. The first part of the paper addresses challenges that are brought forward against the WTO system pursuing community interests, in particular that it only sets forth bilateral obligations, disregards non-trade values and is unfair to developing countries. The second part of the paper examines structural elements of WTO law that are indicative of community interests, namely the nondiscrimination principles, the limits on derogability and the design of enforcement mechanisms. Finally, the paper concludes that WTO law protects the community interest of promoting an essentially rules-based and fair world market. It argues that the core concern of WTO law is to protect trade-conducive structures that enable and further global economic activity for the purpose of generating overall welfare.
Keywords: WTO, GATT, GATS, SCM, Article XXIII, Appellate Body, trade, non-trade, community interest, public good, obligation, bilateral, collective, constitution, contract, fair, unfair, rule-based, global market, world market, nondiscrimination, national treatment, most favored nation inter se modification
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