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Competing Jurisdictions Between MERCOSUR and WTO

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The wider issues raised by the Brazilian Tyres case are discussed in this contribution. Regarding the institutional aspects, this case examines the difficulties between regional dispute settlement systems and the global WTO dispute settlement system. In particular, the WTO Appellate Body showed no deference towards the prior report of the MERCOSUR Arbitral Tribunal. Indeed, the WTO Appellate Body is espousing a supremacy of WTO law – not only vis-à-vis regional dispute settlement bodies, but also regarding WTO panels. It is argued that this attitude is not sustainable in the light of the increasing proliferation of international courts and tribunals, which inevitably results into disputes being adjudicated by different courts and tribunals at different levels. Regarding the substantive aspects, this case is a prime example of the difficulties of balancing non-trade interests and trade interests. At the end, trade interests superseded the nontrade interests. It is argued that the way Article XX GATT has been interpreted and applied by the WTO Appellate Body leaves states insufficient room to address urgent environmental and health problems by restricting trade. It is argued that in this case Brazil's non-trade interests should have been given preference over the trade interests of the EC and Uruguay.

Affiliations: 1: Senior Researcher European & International Law, Law Faculty, ACIL University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands; 2: Law Faculty, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands


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