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.
After the GATT Dispute Settlement P
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
United States-Restrictions on Imports of Tuna
, (1991), GATT Doc.DS21/R (1991),39
Supp. 155BISD,30 I.L.M. 1594, 50-51
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>
For an overview, see S. Charnovitz,
Trade Measures and the Design of International Regimes,
(1996),5Journal of Environment and development , 176