Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-8bljj Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-06-17T00:43:11.103Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Genetically modified rules: the awkward rule–exception–right distinction in EC–Biotech

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 July 2007

TOMER BROUDE
Affiliation:
Faculty of Law and Department of International Relations, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Abstract

The arcane distinction between ‘rules’, ‘exceptions’, and ‘autonomous rights’ has troubled WTO dispute settlement since its earliest days, primarily with respect to procedural burden-of-proof questions. Yet in its report, the EC–Biotech panel relied on a techno-textual understanding of this distinction to interpret the substantive applicability of Articles 2.2, 5.1, and 5.7 SPS – the WTO’s fundamental rules on the degree of scientific certainty of risk required to allow a state to restrict imports of goods due to human, animal, or plant health or life concerns. This article critiques the panel’s approach on the backdrop of WTO jurisprudence and deontic logic, arguing that the norm-category of ‘autonomous rights’ does not actually exist; that the Article 2.2–5.1/5.7 SPS relationship should be more straightforwardly construed than the panel’s analysis would suggest; and that the disorderly and incoherent outcome of the panel’s analysis serves as a cautionary tale against excessive textualism in WTO dispute settlement.

Type
Special GMO Symposium
Copyright
Copyright © Tomer Broude 2007

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Bartels, Lorand (2003), ‘The WTO Enabling Clause and Positive Conditionality in the EC's GSP Program’, Journal of International Economic Law, 6: 507.Google Scholar
Boella, Guido and Lendert van der, Torre (2003), Permissions and Obligations in Hierarchical Normative Systems, Procs. of ICAIL 03, Edinburgh: AMC Press, p. 109.Google Scholar
Droege, Cordula (2007), ‘International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Law: A Legal Framework for Complementarity’, Israel Law Review (forthcoming).Google Scholar
Grando, Michelle T. (2006), ‘Allocating the Burden of Proof in WTO Disputes: A Critical Analysis’, Journal of International Economic Law, 9: 615.Google Scholar
Horn, Henrik and Joseph, H. H. Weiler (2005), ‘EC–Trade Description of Sardines: Textualism and its Discontent’, in Henrik, Horn and Petros, Mavroidis, The WTO Case Law of 2002, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 248.Google Scholar
Hurst, David R. (1998), ‘Decisions of the Appellate Body of the WTO – Hormones: European Communities – Measures Affecting Meat and Meat Products’, European Journal of International Law, 9(1): 182.Google Scholar
Lennard, Michael (2005), ‘Navigating by the Stars: Interpreting the WTO Agreements’, Journal of International Economic Law, 5(1): 17.Google Scholar
Marceau, Gabrielle and Conelis, Reiman (2001), ‘When and How is a Regional Trade Agreement Compatible with the WTO?’, Legal Issues of Economic Integration, 28(3): 297.Google Scholar
Marceau, Gabrielle and Joel, P. Trachtman (2002), ‘The Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement, the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures Agreement, and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade’, Journal of World Trade, 36: 811.Google Scholar
Martha, Rustel S. J. (1997), ‘Presumptions and Burden of Proof in World Trade Law’, Journal of International Arbitration, 14: 67.Google Scholar
Ortino, Federico (2006), ‘Treaty Interpretation and the Appellate Body in US–Gambling: A Critique’, Journal of International Economic Law, 9: 117.Google Scholar
Ross, A. (1968), Directives and Norms, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
Tan, Pei-San (1998), ‘Decisions of the Appellate Body of the WTO – Shirts and Blouses: United States Measures Affecting Imports of Woven Shirts and Blouses’, European Journal of International Law, 9(1): 182.Google Scholar
von Wright, Georg H. (1951), ‘Deontic Logic’, Mind, 6: 1.Google Scholar
von Wright, Georg H. (1963), Norm and Action: A Logical Inquiry, London: Routledge.Google Scholar