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Georgetown International Environmental Law Review



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World Trade Organization, General Agreement on the Tariffs and Trade, WTO, GATT, national sovereignty, anti-discrimination norm


A discussion of how the World Trade Organization (WTO) resolves disputes centering on the tension between the free trade commit ment of the General Agreement on the Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and domestic policies regarding such matters as environmental, health, consumer, and labor protection. This article describes this evolving jurisprudential framework and the cases that comprise it, and illustrates how this framework articulates and applies an anti-discrimination norm that pervades the GATT. If properly articulated and applied, we argue, the anti-discrimination jurisprudence of the WTO will foster the trade interests that underlie the GATT up to the point where the WTO could no longer liberalize trade without illegitimately infringing on sovereign rights. When properly understood, the theory and doctrine that underlie the WTO jurisprudential framework should in most cases achieve the proper balance between free trade and national sovereignty.