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Liberalization of Trade in Goods in the EEC: Origin and Early Evolution

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Chapter Summary

Two issues that figured prominently in the trade liberalisation agendas of the European Economic Community (EEC) were 'customs duties' and 'quantitative restrictions' imposed by Member States on the import and export of goods into and out of their territory. In devising its legal instruments in order to create the common market, the Treaty of Rome (like the GATT) had adopted a fundamentally clear dichotomy between border measures and internal measures. Given the ambitious goal of harmonising Member States' internal regulations affecting the establishment or functioning of the common market, the European Commission realised early on that it needed an additional instrument to tackle internal regulations. By putting forward 'reasonableness' and 'proportionality' in the late 1960s as useful legal principles to tackle indistinctly applicable measures, the Commission and its legal officers prepared the field for the Court of Justice's later ground-breaking judgment in Dassonville.

Keywords: customs duties; European Economic Community (EEC); GATT; goods; legal principles; Member states; quantitative restrictions; trade liberalisation; Treat of Rome



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