Tue, Oct. 07, 2003

ECJ: Direct Applicability of WTO Rules in EU Law

ZY - Washington.   In a surprising development, the European Court of Justice opened the door to legal recourse for business harmed by the European Union's failure to complate with a World Trade Organization mandate. A few days ago, the court found that the direct applicability of WTO rules in EU law may allow new remedies for damages suffered by its citizens for violations by the EU bodies. A new analysis by Werner Berg of Gleiss Lutz explains how the new rulings constitute a potential third prong for a direct WTO effect in EU law.

By imposing an EU import embargo of hormone-treated cattle and beef from non-EU-Member States, the EU infringed upon several provisions of the WTO Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement). Later, the EU failed to comply with a WTO ruling ordering the EU to terminate the embargo. Traders suffered damages as a result of the embargo. The ECJ dismissed the current cases seeking their redress of grievances but announced the above trend which is favorable for its citizens injured by the EU's failure to comply.

Dr. Berg, the author of the analysis, is a trade expert who advises international businesses in transatlantic trade disputes, including the Banana War, and the upcoming threats--and preventive planning--from E.U. sanctions for the U.S. tax rebate program held illegal under WTO rules, and recently discussed the EU trends with Bloomberg.

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