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Shrimp And Turtles: What About Environmental Embargoes Under Nafta?

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Chapter Summary

As in the Tuna-Dolphin and Shrimp-Turtle cases, the critical North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) environmental issue relates to productive processes. To what extent does NAFTA allow the United States to impose environmental embargoes or sanctions on Mexican or Canadian goods for process-related reasons? And to what extent is that an improvement over World Trade Organization (WTO) jurisprudence as developed by the Tuna panels and the Appellate Body in the Shrimp-Turtle decision? These crucial questions determine whether NAFTA is, as claimed, truly an environmentally friendly agreement. This chapter states that, despite the impassioned pleas to the contrary by NAFTA proponents during the debate leading to the treaty's adoption by the U.S. Congress, NAFTA's advantages on environmental issues are illusory-including the much-heralded founding of the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC).

Keywords: Appellate Body; Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC); environmental embargoes; North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA); Shrimp-Turtle case; Tuna-Dolphin case; United States; World Trade Organization (WTO)



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