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The WTO and Multilateral Environmental Agreements: Law, Conflicts and Reconciliation


The main purpose of this thesis is to examine the relationship between multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) and the World Trade Organization (WTO). Also, the secondary objective is to evaluate how non-trade issues i.e. environmental concerns are addressed in the WTO.
Trade-related MEAs contain trade measures that are inconsistent with the WTO rules. The former, facilitates trade restrictions in order to support MEA environmental objectives, while the latter aims at trade liberalization. Therefore, trade-related MEAs are in violation with the pillar provisions of the WTO. Consequently, the thesis identifies the potentially violated provisions of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and provides notable examples of GATT-inconsistent MEAs trade measures.
Thus this potential conflict requires reconciliation. Hence the thesis outlines the proposals how trade-related MEAs could be accommodated within the WTO. Yet, the most relevant discussion is whether trade-related MEAs could be exempted from the GATT obligations in the WTO dispute settlement proceedings. However, MEA trade measures have never been challenged, and therefore environment-related disputes involving unilateral environmental trade measures are analyzed. Subsequently, the arguments whether MEA trade measures could be justified in the WTO are provided.
Additionally, the thesis discusses the debate on trade and the environment. It is worthwhile to address it since it explains the interaction of trade and the environment, and why the environmental agenda within the WTO is a controversial issue.


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