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This chapter explains why the dynamic of World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations tends to lead to the progressive liberalization of market-access barriers promoting consumer welfare. As all agreements tend to be ‘incomplete’, it is a legitimate task of WTO judges to clarify progressively the WTO requirements of nondiscriminatory treatment of like goods and of like services. The additional requirements, in the WTO Agreements on Technical Barriers to Trade and on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Standards, to base restrictive measures on the ‘necessity principle’ and on ‘scientific evidence’, offer useful ‘double checks’ for judicial identification of protectionist measures. While the WTO rules on non-discriminatory market access offer weak safeguards for consumer welfare, the WTO's contingent protection instruments protect import-competing producers from ‘injurious competition’ without regard to consumer welfare. Finally, this chapter concludes that ‘the WTO rules are producer-oriented’ and need to be changed by governments committed to promotion of consumer welfare.


International Economics | International Trade Law | Law


This material has been published in "Reforming the World Trading System: Legitimacy, Efficiency, and Democratic Governance", edited by Ernst-Ulrich Petersmann. This version is free to view and download for private research and study only. Not for re-distribution or re-use.