The World Trade Organization and Environmental Protection

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In this paper, I begin by defining international governance and the problems surrounding the definition which provide background information. I go on to examine how the rules of the WTO have affected international environmental governance through ignoring environmental protection and labour rights. I compare from one angle the effects of GATT to trade liberalization. I use the example of the endangered sea turtle to show how the United States intended to protect the environment but was stopped by WTO rules. In conclusion, the WTO rules should change and be more democratic and appeal to environmental protection.

The World trade organization (WTO) was founded January 1, 1995 . It is an international body whose purpose is to promote free trade by persuading countries to abolish import tariffs and other barriers”. The WTO represents a rule based regime on economic globalization. It hinges on the basis that its commercial interests should come first and all else should be secondary. Some scholars have argued that the world trade organization has led to the decline of the state of the environment. On the other hand, other say that trade liberalization has had positive effects in the environment.

The WTO agreements have shifted and now focus on multilateral trading system from the reduction of trade barriers in reducing tariffs to one of “positive rule-making”. The agreement established requires that all members countries conform to the rules and regulation of the WTO. For example, the WTO settlement process allows disputes to resolution panels to declare municipal laws and regulations as illegal trade barriers. This means any member country caught going against WTO rules would have to be punished and this can be in the fo...

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... 37 VA. J. INT'L L. 275 (1997).

[12] Steve Charnovitz, The Law of Environmental "PPMs" in the WTO: Debunking the Myth of Illegality, 27 YALE J. INT'L L. 59, 77 (2002).

[14] WTO Appellate Body Report on United States--Import Prohibition of Certain Shrimp and Shrimp Products, WT/DS58/AB/R (Oct. 12, 1998) [hereinafter Shrimp/Turtle Dispute]; GATT Dispute Settlement Panel Report on U.S. Restrictions on Imports of Tuna, 33 I.L.M. 839 (1994)

[15] Gilpin, Robert (2001). Global Political Economy - Understanding the International Economic Order. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

[16] D’Amato,A,and Chopra,SK (1991), “Whales: Their Emerging Rights to Life “ American Journal of International Law,VOl.85 no 1

[17] Final Act Embodying the Results of the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations, Apr. 15, 1994, 33 I.L.M. I (1994) [hereinafter Final Act].
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