The European Community and the International Trading System: A Judicial Approach
International Relations Journal, Vol. 22, No.1, pp. 47-54, Fall 2002
21 Pages Posted: 1 Jul 2004
The main focus of study in this paper is to explain why the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the various Agreements which form an integral part of the Agreement establishing the WTO raise problems and are challenges for the Court of Justice of the European Communities (ECJ). In section II, we will see that the EC's specific problems and challenges for the European Court of Justice are related to the EC's position in the WTO. In this sense, the opinion of Advocate General Tesauro regarding Hermes International v FHT Marketing Choice is helpful for understanding the unitary character of the EC external trade relations:
The Community legal system is characterized by the simultaneous application of provisions of various origins, international, Community and national; but it nevertheless seeks to function and to represent itself to the outside world as a unified system.
Section III is devoted to the question of the status of international agreements in EC Law, while section IV deals with the status of the WTO in the EC legal system.
The EC has been a major player in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) both before and after the creation of the WTO. It played major role in the shaping of the GATT/WTO and is a common player in dispute resolutions. The EC, together with the U.S., Japan and Canada, is one of the four major players of international trade law. The new mechanisms introduced by the WTO Dispute Settlement Understanding, while are not comparable to the full judicial system within the EU, have changed both the rules and legal culture concerning adjudication and enforcement obligations. Although the WTO is still an intergovernmental organization, powerful private actors have already learned to manipulate the system to reach legal adjudication under the guise of intergovernmental disputes. All these issues will be analyzed throughout this paper.
Keywords: WTO agreement, European Court of Justice, EC external trade relations, GATT, WTO Dispute Settlement Understanding
JEL Classification: K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation