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The Shrimp Turtle Case a Battleground for the Environmentalists and the International Trade Community in the WTO

The Shrimp Turtle Case a Battleground for the Environmentalists and the International Trade Community in the WTO

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Published by teshagerw

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Published by: teshagerw on Sep 22, 2008
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03/19/2013

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The shrimp Turtle Case: a Battleground for the Environmentalistsand the International Trade Community in the WTO
Teshager Worku Dagne Abstract The Shrimp-Turtle Case constitutes one of the most important decisions ever decided by theWTO Appellate Body that touch upon trade and environment issues. The case left analysts withmixed feelings as far as the relationship between trade liberalization and environmental protection is concerned. At one hand, it provided some important clarifications in favor of theright of governments to protect the environment through unilateral measures. On the other hand,the government taking such measures at the case at hand once again found itself to be inviolation of its World Trade Organization obligations.This article analyzes and summarizes the comments and explanations on the issues dealing withthe interaction between environmental purposes and trade in the WTO from the perspective of the various schools of thought, and highlights the issues of due significance for futureresearches. Accordingly, it is divided into three sections. The first section provides a brief introduction on the decision by the WTO Appellate Body in the Shrimp-Turtle Case. In thesecond section, discussion is made on the various issues that arose from the case and havespecific relevance to the trade and environment linkage in the WTO. The third section identifiesthe position of the different schools of thought 
 
on the issues raised, and ends up formulatingquestions that need answers in future researches.
 
Table of ContentsTitle PageAbstract----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------iTable of Contents---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ii1.1 Introduction -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------21.2 The Shrimp- Turtle Case ---------------------------------------------------------------------------42 Analyzing the Shrimp-Turtle Case ---------------------------------------------------------------------142.1 Outstanding Issues Regarding the Shrimp-Turtle Case ---------------------------------------152.1.1
“Relating to” vis
-à-
vis “Primarily aimed at” Requirement
s ----------------------------------152.1.2 Exhaustible Natural Resources -------------------------------------------------------------------192.1.3 Extra-Jurisdictionality ----------------------------------------------------------------------------222.1.4 Unilateral Measures --------------------------------------------------------------------------------282.1.5 The Chapeau Requirements ----------------------------------------------------------------- -----372.1.6 Unjustifiable and Arbitrary Discrimination ----------------------------------------------------392.2 Theories Applied in the Shrimp-Turtle Case ----------------------------------------------------403 Implications of the Shrimp-Turtle Ruling in Determining the Future of EnvironmentalMeasures in the WTO DSB-------------------------------------------------------------------------------49
3.1 The Environmentalists‟ perspective
------------------------------------------------------------------49
3.2 The Trade Communities‟ perspective
----------------------------------------------------------------57
3.3 The Developing Countries‟ Prospective
-------------------------------------------------------------603.4 Important Issues of Particular Interest to the Trade and Environment Linkage in the WTO-66
 
1.
 
Introduction
Before the Tuna/Dolphin rulings, the prevailing view in the WTO was that Art. XX of the GATTdecided any conflicts between free-trade rules and environmental norms in favor of the latter.
1
 After the GATT Dispute Settlement P
anel‟s rul
ing that a trade embargo on non-dolphin
 – 
friendlytuna was illegal under the GATT rules, international attention was drawn to the impact that traderules can have on domestic environmental policies.
2
The WTO system has been under seriousattack by environmentalists who believe that its rules have been used to undermineenvironmental protection. This led to the creation of the Committee on Trade and Environment(CTE) at the end of the Uruguay Round in 1994.
3
 From then onwards, the most fundamental and divisive issue confronting the CTE has beenwhether trade restrictions to protect the environment are permissible under the law of the WTO.
4
 In recent years, tensions between environment and trade policies have significantly increased,fuelled by a host of trade disputes over issues as diverse as, shrimps, automobiles, furs, or meatof cattle treated with certain growth hormones.
5
 
1
Robert Howse,
The Appellate Body Rulings in the Shrimp/Turtle case: A New Legal Baseline for theTrade and Environment Debate
, (2002) 27 Colum. J. Envtl. L. 493
2
 
United States-Restrictions on Imports of Tuna
, (1991), GATT Doc.DS21/R (1991),39
th
Supp. 155BISD,30 I.L.M. 1594, 50-51
3
The Uruguay Round was atradenegotiation lasting from September1986to April1994that transformed theGeneral Agreement on Tariffs and Trade(GATT) into theWorld Trade Organization(WTO). It was launched in Punta del EsteinUruguay(hence the name), followed by negotiations inMontreal,Geneva,Brussels,Washington D.C.,andTokyo,with the 20 agreements finally being signed inMarrakesh- theMarrakesh Agreement. 
4
Alexey Vikhlyaev,
The use of Trade measures for Environmental Purposes-Globally and in the EU Context (
Sept,2001) 8,Online: UNCTAD Publications <http://r0.unctad.org /trade_env/ test 1/publicati ons/feem>
5
For an overview, see S. Charnovitz,
Trade Measures and the Design of International Regimes,
(1996),5Journal of Environment and development , 176

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