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EU membership of the WTO: international trade disputes and judicial protection of individuals by EU Courts

Thies, A. (2013) EU membership of the WTO: international trade disputes and judicial protection of individuals by EU Courts. Global Constitutionalism, 2 (2). pp. 237-261. ISSN 2045-3825 (Special issue on 'Changing subjects: rights, remedies and responsibilities of individuals under global legal pluralism' edited by Turkuler Isiksel and Anne Thies)

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1017/S2045381713000105


The European Union (EU) is embedded in a pluralistic legal context because of the EU and its Member States’ treaty memberships and domestic laws. Where EU conduct has implications for both the EU’s international trade relations and the legal position of individual traders, it possibly affects EU and its Member States’ obligations under the law of the World Trade Organization (WTO law) as well as the Union’s own multi-layered constitutional legal order. The present paper analyses the way in which the European Court of Justice (ECJ) accommodates WTO and EU law in the context of international trade disputes triggered by the EU. Given the ECJ’s denial of direct effect of WTO law in principle, the paper focuses on the protection of rights and remedies conferred by EU law. It assesses the implications of the WTO Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU) – which tolerates the acceptance of retaliatory measures constraining traders’ activities in sectors different from those subject to the original trade dispute (Bananas and Hormones cases) – for the protection of ‘retaliation victims’. The paper concludes that governmental discretion conferred by WTO law has not affected the applicability of EU constitutional law but possibly shapes the actual scope of EU rights and remedies where such discretion is exercised in the EU’s general interest.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Law
ID Code:33116
Publisher:Cambridge University Press

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