Consumer preferences and the National Treatment Principle: emerging environmental regulations prompt a new look at an old problem

Lydgate, Emily Barrett (2011) Consumer preferences and the National Treatment Principle: emerging environmental regulations prompt a new look at an old problem. World Trade Review, 10 (2). pp. 165-188. ISSN 1474-7456

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Abstract

Should consumers’ preference for ‘green’ products help justify,from a WTO perspective, emerging regulations such as restrictions on trade in non-sustainable biofuels? Despite the role consumer preferences have played in WTO disputes, in association with the ‘ like ’ products concept, there has not been enough focused examination of their specific influence, particularly in disputes on ethical public policy issues, such as environmental or health regulations. To this end, this paper examines key GATT Article III disputes, pointing out that they included attempts both to measure, and also to interpret, consumer preferences. The latter approach becomes more tempting when consumer preferences are difficult to measure; import bans or restrictions associated with ethical public policy regulations can bring about such a situation. A hypothetical dispute about EC biofuels sustainability criteria demonstrates this problem. Options to make the concept of consumer preferences more coherent include limitations on how they can be invoked, and an increased commitment to capturing them through measurement.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Law
Subjects: K Law
Depositing User: Emily Lydgate
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2013 10:15
Last Modified: 15 Mar 2017 11:10
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/46410

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