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Normentwicklung durch WTO-Gremien am Beispiel von Handel und Gesundheitsschutz: der SPS-Ausschuss
The paper analyses a largely neglected feature of global governance in the area of trade and regulation, namely the WTO committee system, and in particular the committee which administers the Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Committee). It starts by briefly outlining the historical and political background as well as the central legal provisions of the SPS Agreement and subsequently explains how the SPS Committee organises its work. Four specific SPS provisions are then scrutinised with regard to how the Committee has specified their content in its decisions, covering (i) the monitoring of international harmonisation by international standard-setting bodies such as the Codex Alimentarius Commission, (ii) the recognition of “equivalence” between different WTO Members’ food-safety standards, (iii) the requirement of “consistency” among a Member’s protective measures and (iv) the transparency of domestic standards and standard-setting procedures. The effectiveness of these decisions is then discussed, in overall formal terms – where the Committee is found to have been remarkably productive – as well as with regard to two core substantive issues of multi-level regulatory systems: Concerning (i) the effect of international law on domestic policy autonomy, the Committee has basically maintained the existing precarious balance between legitimate protection and illegitimate protectionism, but the longer-term effects of some of its procedural decisions may yet turn out to constrain WTO Members in important ways. Concerning (ii) the distribution of powers between judicial and political-administrative bodies within the WTO, hopes for the Committee to help redress the institutional balance have so far not been fulfilled, as it has generally refrained from interfering with the work of the centralised dispute settlement organs. The study concludes with a number of recommendations for future research.
No. 068/2007
Matthias Leonhard Maier

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