Non-product related environmental process and production methods (NPR-PPMs): a view from international trade law and international environmental governance

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Calle Saldarriaga, Maria Alejandra
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University College Cork
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The primary aim of this thesis is to analyse legal and governance issues in the use of Environmental NPR-PPMs, particularly those aiming to promote sustainable practices or to protect natural resources. NPR-PPMs have traditionally been thought of as being incompatible with the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO). However, the issue remains untouched by WTO adjudicatory bodies. One can suggest that WTO adjudicatory bodies may want to leave this issue to the Members, but the analysis of the case law also seems to indicate that the question of legality of NPR-PPMs has not been brought ‘as such’ in dispute settlement. This thesis advances the argument that despite the fact that the legal status of NPR-PPMs remains unsettled, during the last decades adjudicatory bodies have been scrutinising environmental measures based on NPR-PPMs just as another expression of the regulatory autonomy of the Members. Though NPR-PPMs are regulatory choices associated with a wide range of environmental concerns, trade disputes giving rise to questions related to the legality of process-based measures have been mainly associated with the protection of marine wildlife (i.e., fishing techniques threatening or affecting animal species). This thesis argues that environmental objectives articulated as NPR-PPMs can indeed qualify as legitimate objectives both under the GATT and the TBT Agreement. However, an important challenge for the their compatibility with WTO law relate to aspects associated with arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination. In the assessment of discrimination procedural issues play an important role. This thesis also elucidates other important dimensions to the issue from the perspective of global governance. One of the arguments advanced in this thesis is that a comprehensive analysis of environmental NPR-PPMs should consider not only their role in what is regarded as trade barriers (governmental and market-driven), but also their significance in global objectives such as the transition towards a green economy and sustainable patterns of consumption and production.
International trade law , SCP , Trade barriers , Environmental governance , Environment , WTO , PPMs
Calle Saldarriaga, M. A. 2014. Non-product related environmental process and production methods (NPR-PPMs): a view from international trade law and international environmental governance. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.
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