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The Role And Function Of Non-Economic Exception Clauses In Trade Agreements

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses the role and function of non-economic exception clauses in international trade agreements. It addresses conceptual considerations regarding the scope and nature of exception clauses. This includes a discussion of the potential dangers resulting from exception clauses being construed either too narrowly or too broadly. An argument made in the chapter is that exception clauses should be considered as a complex network of corresponding rights and obligations of the different states. Trade agreements impose binding international obligations on states and their governments, thus limiting their discretion to regulate economic activities within their territory. One important function of exception clauses is to sustain the overall stability of the multilateral trading system. Exception clauses allow states to participate in this system, while some domestic policy areas remain unaffected by binding international treaty obligations undertaken by states.

Keywords: international trade agreements; non-economic exception clauses



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