open access

Abstract

The EU is frequently referred to as one of the Titans of the WTO and this is why its trade disputes frequently receive a lot of attention from academics, practitioners and the media. This attention frequently arises at the later stages of the proceedings – during oral hearings, after the Panel Report or the Appellate Body Report. However, the focus of our study lies primarily on disputes which are still at the very early phase of their development. The scope of this report has required the narrowing down of the subject-matter, and the authors have concentrated on the movement of goods, covering five pending cases.
First, the report covers cases where the EU is the respondent. It looks at the measures which the EU has adopted internally, examining their background and inquiring how these measures affect trade. It is generally known that EU legislation can pose barriers both to internal and to external trade, and it is interesting that such legislation can be challenged both within the EU – before the European Court, or in the international arena – before WTO bodies. An example of this is the pending disputes on seals and poultry. Then, the report looks at measures from third countries which EU traders have considered to be obstacles to trade, and which the EU decided to challenge using the WTO dispute settlement mechanism. These cases in which the EU acts as a complainant concern India’s and the Philippines’ measures on spirits, and China’s rules on raw materials.