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Cross-agreement complaints before the Appellate Body: a case study of the EC Asbestos dispute

By JOOST PAUWELYN

Abstract

WTO panels are often called upon to decide overlapping claims based on different WTO agreements. One such dispute was the EC Asbestos case where claims were made under both GATT 1994 and the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT). This paper examines whether the Appellate Body s refusal in that case to examine Canada s TBT claims was justified. The conclusion reached is no, based on the principle jura novit curia, the general prohibition on non liquet and the WTO case law on judicial economy. In addition, the paper examines when two WTO norms must be seen as in conflict . It argues in favour of broadening the current definition of conflict and clarifies the consequences of a norm being lex specialis.

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