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Revisiting the Role of Anti-Circumvention Provisions under the wto Agreement: Lessons for East Asia

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“Circumvention” is a growing challenge to the effectiveness of international law as the incentive to circumvent laws grows as the “legalization” of international society continues. This analysis on the anti-circumvention provisions within the wto Agreement reveals a lack of clarity and coherence in the existing disciplines. Ongoing negotiations to modify trade rules also do not fully address these concerns. Therefore, this article proposes that there is a need for a comprehensive approach consisting of amendment, coherent interpretation, use of general principles, and functional reallocation for the wto Agreement to address circumvention more effectively. In particular, to establish an efficient legal framework for economic integration in East Asia, this article notes that the priority in improving and clarifying anti-circumvention disciplines is to strike multi-dimensional balances between legitimate interests, including those between sovereign liberty and the effectiveness of international agreements, and those between the predictability of obligations and the effectiveness thereof.

Affiliations: 1: Otaru University of


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