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Abstract from

National Regulation and the WTO: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back?

Joseph A McMahon is Professor of International Trade Law at the Queen’s University of Belfast. He previously taught at the University of Leicester and Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. He has written extensively on agriculture, either internationally or on the European Community’s Common Agricultural Policy, and on both topics to leading law journals and edited collections. He has also written on the European Com­munity’s Development Co-operation Policy. As from October 2004 he will be Professor of Commercial Law in the Faculty of Law at University College Dublin.

The purpose of this article is to offer a brief insight into the impact of WTO disciplines on national regulation. Although the twin GATT principles of most-favoured-nation and national treatment principles apply, there are circumstances in which the demands of national regulation may prevail. In the context of the GATT, these circumstances are contained in art XX GATT. The Uruguay Round added two further sets of circumstances; those contained in the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade and in the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures. Although the jurisprudence on art XX is well developed, there have been a limited number of cases on the SPS and TBT Agreements. The inter-relationship between these three areas will be examined and the question asked whether a consistent and coherent body of jurisprudence is emerging.

(2003) 21 Law in Context 176

   
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