The Use of Public Morals Exception for Animal Welfare in the WTO: EC-Seal Products

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Phakanadh Sutthent


This article focuses on the interpretation and application of the GATT public morals exception to reconcile the conflict between trade and animal welfare. By examining public morals jurisprudence of the WTO, it aims to study the WTO’s evolving interpretation of Article XX, general exceptions, to accommodate animal welfare concerns. The recent EC-Seal Products decision will be comprehensively analyzed to assess the progress and possible implications for the future. Also, this article argues that neither trade nor animal welfare should be disregarded. The outcome of the decision shows that the WTO is ready to recognize a new value under public morals exception, but sovereign regulatory autonomy may be restricted through the chapeau interpretation. Therefore, it is the work of the dispute settlement body to appropriately balance these competing interests although it was established to resolve trade disputes.


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Sutthent, Phakanadh. “The Use of Public Morals Exception for Animal Welfare in the WTO: EC-Seal Products”. Naresuan University Law Journal 10, no. 1 (June 28, 2017): 97-114. Accessed March 9, 2021.
Academic Articles


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