The WTO and the Greening of World Trade: A look at WTO Jurisprudence

Thomson Law Book Co
Publication Type:
Journal article
Blay Sam 2004, 'The WTO and the Greening of World Trade: A look at WTO Jurisprudence', Thomson Lawbook Co, vol. 21, no. 1, pp. 27-43.
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The World Trade Organization (WTO) epitomises the triumph of economic liberalism in multilateral trade relations. However, the image of the WTO in the world of the environmentalist is not a positive one. In classical liberal economic thought, the fundamental objective of international trade is the elimination of trade barriers and the maximisation of international output within a competitive framework, based on the ideals of comparative advantage. For most environmentalists, there is a mutually self-assured destructive relationship between liberalised world trade and sustainable exploitation of resources. While the "environmental exceptions" in the WTO system provide an avenue for protecting the environment from the adverse impact of trade, they are far from comprehensive. More important, the exceptions must be understood within the context of the overall "mission" of the WTG. The WTO is first and foremost a trading organisation. One cannot expect the WTO to protect the environment any more than one can expect the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) to promote trade.
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