Three Lessons on the Construction of Export Controls under WTO Law

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Export controls are gradually emerging as a source of contention within the World Trade Organisation (WTO) law. Resource exporting developing countries are increasingly finding it difficult to reserve the use of commodities and mineral resources for domestic purposes and downstream development due to the obligations imposed by the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) framework and WTO law. The problem is further exacerbated by the unclear guidelines and the overwhelming import-orientation of the provisions regulating international trade within the GATT/WTO framework. This article synthesises three important lessons that can be gleaned by policymakers in construction of export controls in order to avoid a hostile response from other WTO Members concerned about equitable and free access to resources. The article argues that, as things stand today, GATT provisions leave little room for policymakers to preference budding domestic sectors. Any preferential policies that seek inward diversion of resources will most likely attract a challenge in the WTO Dispute Settlement Body.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-121
Number of pages36
JournalUniversity of Queensland Law Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2020


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