Jean Monnet Center at NYU School of Law



This paper makes two arguments in respect of the nature of WTO obligations. Firstly, that WTO obligations are bilateral/reciprocal in nature. Secondly, that WTO obligations and, more generally, WTO treaty provisions, are dynamic in nature and supported by state consent that was not exhausted in 1994 but continues to be confirmed. If accepted, this approach would have crucial consequences, first of all, within the WTO. It would restrict the legal standing to bring a complaint before a WTO panel and favour an evolutionary interpretation of WTO treaty provisions. In addition, the propositions made in this paper weigh heavily on the relationship between WTO law and other rules of international law. It would, in principle, allow for a limited number of WTO members to deviate from WTO obligations inter se and preclude the application of the lex posterior rule to resolve a number of conflicts between WTO provisions and other treaties.




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