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The Role of Ambiguity in Article XX

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Chapter Summary

This chapter analyzes whether and how the ambiguity in Article XX should be resolved in light of its role in facilitating evolutionary coherence between different branches of international law. World Trade Organization (WTO) decision-making mechanisms provide a system of checks and balances to constrain decision making by the WTO as an institution that "would be too intrusive on sovereignty". The chapter questions whether changes are needed to achieve greater coherence between WTO law and other branches of international law. It analyzes the WTO mechanisms that may be used to implement changes to WTO law, assesses the likelihood that sufficient agreement can be reached among WTO members to use these mechanisms and analyzes the legal effect of different decision-making procedures. To determine the legal effect of the language used in ministerial decisions and declarations on the rights and obligations of WTO members one must turn to the Vienna Convention.

Keywords: Article XX; international law; Vienna Convention; World Trade Organization (WTO) law



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