Any day now, a World Trade Organization panel is expected to rule in a dispute between the U.S. and the EU concerning market access for genetically-engineered foods and crops. This piece, written before the release of the WTO panel's report, analyzes novel systemic issues concerning the impact of WTO law on regulatory design, at both the national and international levels, that are raised by this dispute. These include (1) the application of WTO disciplines to regulatory schemes that require prior governmental approval to protect the environment and public health from newly-introduced products and substances; (2) the role of precaution as a public policy strategy in such regulatory structures; (3) the relevance of the Cartagena Biosafety Protocol and other international instruments to the dispute; and (4) the scope of the WTO Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Standards.
David A. Wirth. “The Transatlantic GMO Dispute Against the European Community: Some Preliminary Thoughts.” In EU and WTO Law: How Tight is the Legal Straitjacket for Environmental Product Regulation? edited by Marc Pallemaerts, 175-208. Brussels: VUBPRESS Brussels University Press, 2006.
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