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Tackle the spread of antimicrobial resistance through trade restrictions? - an analysis on the legality of non-product related process and production methods under WTO law

Barr, Elin LU (2017) JURM02 20171
Department of Law
Abstract
International cooperation is central in addressing the challenges facing the global community, one of them being the spread of antimicrobial resistance. Measures that affect international trade are often used by governments to achieve domestic policy goals. In the World Trade Organization (WTO), the relationship between trade and non-economic policy goals, such as environmental and health concerns, has been discussed ever since the organization was created. This is particularly true when it comes to WTO Members ability to restrict trade by requirements on production methods that do not alter the physical characters of the product, so called non-product related process and production methods. The WTO has therefore dealt with several... (More)
International cooperation is central in addressing the challenges facing the global community, one of them being the spread of antimicrobial resistance. Measures that affect international trade are often used by governments to achieve domestic policy goals. In the World Trade Organization (WTO), the relationship between trade and non-economic policy goals, such as environmental and health concerns, has been discussed ever since the organization was created. This is particularly true when it comes to WTO Members ability to restrict trade by requirements on production methods that do not alter the physical characters of the product, so called non-product related process and production methods. The WTO has therefore dealt with several disputes among its Members on this issue.

The thesis sheds light on WTO rules and their notion on non-product related process and production method by proposing a theoretical case where a Member enforces a ban on the use of antibiotics as a growth promotor in the livestock sector for domestic and imported goods, in order to stop the spread of antimicrobial resistance. The thesis evaluates if such a measure falls within the scope of the SPS Agreement or Article III:4 of the GATT, and whether a measure may be justified under Article XX of the GATT. Since previous precedents from WTO disputes present an unclear picture on the issue of non-product related process and production method, a definitive answer cannot be given until an actual dispute is being reviewed by the WTO dispute settlement system.

The analysis provides suggestions on what to consider in the event of an introduction of a trade measure regarding antimicrobial resistance in the livestock sector, with the objective to stop the spread of antimicrobial resistance; inter alia ensuring causation between the measure’s effect and its objective, having sufficient scientific evidence, enforcing it in the least trade restrictive way, and applying the measure in an inclusive, non-discriminatory and transparent way. In conclusion, the thesis raises the importance of the WTO to provide flexible interpretation of its rules to be able to meet today’s global challenges, like the case of antimicrobial resistance. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
Internationellt samarbete är centralt för att ta itu med de globala utmaningar som världen står inför, en av dessa är spridningen av antimikrobiell resistens. Åtgärder, som begränsar den internationella handeln, används ofta av länder för att uppnå politiska mål. I Världshandelsorganisationen (WTO) har relation mellan handel och icke-ekonomiska politiska mål, som miljö- och hälsohänsyn, diskuterats så länge som organisationen har funnits. Detta gäller särskilt WTO-medlemmars möjlighet att begränsa handeln genom krav på produktionsmetoder som inte förändrar produktens fysiska karaktär, så kallad icke-produktrelaterade process- och produktionsmetoder. WTO har därför behandlat flera tvister mellan medlemmar i denna fråga.

I uppsatsen... (More)
Internationellt samarbete är centralt för att ta itu med de globala utmaningar som världen står inför, en av dessa är spridningen av antimikrobiell resistens. Åtgärder, som begränsar den internationella handeln, används ofta av länder för att uppnå politiska mål. I Världshandelsorganisationen (WTO) har relation mellan handel och icke-ekonomiska politiska mål, som miljö- och hälsohänsyn, diskuterats så länge som organisationen har funnits. Detta gäller särskilt WTO-medlemmars möjlighet att begränsa handeln genom krav på produktionsmetoder som inte förändrar produktens fysiska karaktär, så kallad icke-produktrelaterade process- och produktionsmetoder. WTO har därför behandlat flera tvister mellan medlemmar i denna fråga.

I uppsatsen granskas rådande WTO-regler och deras förhållande till icke-produktrelaterade process- och produktionsmetoder genom att föreslå ett teoretiskt fall. I detta fall inför en medlem ett förbud mot användning av antibiotika som tillväxtbefrämjare i djuruppfödning för både inhemska och importerade varor, i syfte att stoppa spridningen av antimikrobiell resistens. Uppsatsen undersöker om en sådan åtgärd faller inom SPS-avtalet eller GATT-avtalets artikel III:4, samt om en åtgärd kan godkännas under GATT-avtalets artikel XX. Då tidigare avgöranden från WTO-tvister presenterar en tvetydig bild vad gäller icke-produktrelaterade process- och produktionsmetoder, kan ett slutgiltigt svar inte ges förrän en faktisk tvist prövas av WTO:s tvistlösningssystem.

I analysen ges förslag på vad som kan övervägas i samband med ett införande av en handelsåtgärd rörande antimikrobiell resistans i djuruppfödning med syfte att stoppa spridningen av antimikrobiell resistens. Bland annat berör uppsatsen vikten av orsakssamband mellan åtgärdens effekt och dess syfte, tillräckliga vetenskapliga bevis, tillämpning av den minst handelsstörande åtgärden och att åtgärden införs på ett inkluderande, icke-diskriminerande och transparent sätt. Avslutningsvis berörs betydelsen av flexibel tolkning av WTO-regler för att kunna möta dagens globala utmaningar, som i fallet med antimikrobiell resistens. (Less)
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author
Barr, Elin LU
supervisor
organization
course
JURM02 20171
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
international trade law
language
English
id
8908982
date added to LUP
2017-06-16 15:56:21
date last changed
2018-12-06 11:04:58
@misc{8908982,
  abstract     = {International cooperation is central in addressing the challenges facing the global community, one of them being the spread of antimicrobial resistance. Measures that affect international trade are often used by governments to achieve domestic policy goals. In the World Trade Organization (WTO), the relationship between trade and non-economic policy goals, such as environmental and health concerns, has been discussed ever since the organization was created. This is particularly true when it comes to WTO Members ability to restrict trade by requirements on production methods that do not alter the physical characters of the product, so called non-product related process and production methods. The WTO has therefore dealt with several disputes among its Members on this issue.

The thesis sheds light on WTO rules and their notion on non-product related process and production method by proposing a theoretical case where a Member enforces a ban on the use of antibiotics as a growth promotor in the livestock sector for domestic and imported goods, in order to stop the spread of antimicrobial resistance. The thesis evaluates if such a measure falls within the scope of the SPS Agreement or Article III:4 of the GATT, and whether a measure may be justified under Article XX of the GATT. Since previous precedents from WTO disputes present an unclear picture on the issue of non-product related process and production method, a definitive answer cannot be given until an actual dispute is being reviewed by the WTO dispute settlement system.

The analysis provides suggestions on what to consider in the event of an introduction of a trade measure regarding antimicrobial resistance in the livestock sector, with the objective to stop the spread of antimicrobial resistance; inter alia ensuring causation between the measure’s effect and its objective, having sufficient scientific evidence, enforcing it in the least trade restrictive way, and applying the measure in an inclusive, non-discriminatory and transparent way. In conclusion, the thesis raises the importance of the WTO to provide flexible interpretation of its rules to be able to meet today’s global challenges, like the case of antimicrobial resistance.},
  author       = {Barr, Elin},
  keyword      = {international trade law},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Tackle the spread of antimicrobial resistance through trade restrictions? - an analysis on the legality of non-product related process and production methods under WTO law},
  year         = {2017},
}