The International Trade: Dispute over GMO's before the WTO: Causes and Consequences
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The Biotech dispute at WTO received a great deal of attention, and reopened a wide-ranging debate over the benefits of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and their effects on human health and the environment. The dispute was complex and involved a high level of political sensitivity. It brought attention to procedural and substantive issues in which the roles of science and precaution, and the interrelationship between trade law and international law took centre stage. It raised questions as to the degree of risk acceptable to society, as well as questions regarding the regulation of GMOs in the face of continuing uncertainty about the risks they may pose to human health and the environment. This thesis explores both the conceptual foundations and the legal aspects of this debate. It argues that extending the scope of the SPS Agreement in the manner the Biotech decision did is problematic, and overburdens the EU with demonstrating that its GMO authorisation framework is based on scientific risk assessments and not otherwise disguised restrictions on trade. This thesis also highlights that the conflict surrounding GMOs is not limited to the World Trade Organization. By leaving little room for the application of precautionary approaches and non-scientific factors, the Panel largely failed to recognise the institutional and discursive complexity in which the conflict about GMOs is embedded. The thesis concludes that increased sensitivity of WTO law to environmental and non-scientific factors will reduce the existing tension allowing it to coexist with other international treaties.
- Theses