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United States Import Prohibition of Certain Shrimp and Shrimp Products; United States, Appellant v. India, Malaysia, Pakistan, Thailand, Appellees

India, Malaysia, Pakistan, Thailand, United States of America
Type of court
International court
Oct 12, 1998
Court name
WTO Appelate Body
Reference number
Sea, Fisheries
Endangered species International trade Marine fisheries Fishing gear/fishing method Marine fishes Fish products Fishery management and conservation International agreement-text
The USA Government banned the import of shrimp and shrimp products from countries that did not comply with harvesting methods that did not adversely affect sea turtles. The above methods were basically limited to shrimp harvested by commercial trawl vessels using “turtle excluder devices” (TED) similar to those authorized in the USA, and also artisan harvesting of shrimp. A WTO Panel was established at the request of the plaintiff countries, which argued the illegitimacy of the announced import ban. The plaintiffs argued that the said ban was inconsistent with GATT’s Article XI (General Elimination on Quantitative Restrictions), the most-favored nation clause established in GATT Article I:1, and the prohibition on discriminatory administration of quantitative restrictions of GATT Article XIII:1. The USA argued that the measures were justified under GATT, particularly in concerning the conservation of exhaustible natural resources (Article XX (g)). In fact, all seven kinds of sea turtles had been defined as endangered species in CITES. According to the USA, sea turtles were shared global resources that deserved protective measures that escaped the USA national jurisdiction. The Panel held that although the WTO Agreement confirmed had an environmental concern, economic development through trade was its core focus. The Panel stated that the plaintiff countries were subject to unjustifiable discrimination, after considering that global challenges, such as the protection of a shared natural resource, demanded a multilateral response. Hence the defendant had to enter into corresponding international negotiations.
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United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea

Treaty | Multilateral | Montego Bay |

Keyword: Alien species, Inspection, Legal proceedings/administrative proceedings, Management/conservation, Deep sea bed, Islands, Bycatch, Offences/penalties, Enforcement/compliance, Risk assessment/management, Fishing licence fee, Authorization/permit, Fishery management and conservation, Total allowable catch, Marine fisheries, Liability/compensation, Pollution control, Future generations, Marine pollution, Dispute settlement, Monitoring, Stock enhancement/repopulation, Maritime zone, Policy/planning, Marine pollution (dumping at sea), Size, Contract/agreement, Access right, Education, Data collection/reporting, Research, EIA, International organization, Long-range air pollution, Marine mammals, Mining, Business/industry/corporations, High seas, Sovereignty, Marine pollution (land-based sources), Migratory species, Vessel ownership, Court/tribunal, Marine resources management, Jurisdictional competence, Fishing licence, Harbour, Early warning system/emergency intervention system, Fishing gear/fishing method, Navigation, Registration, Continental shelf, Marine pollution (ship-based sources), Exploration, Seasons, International relations/cooperation, Technology transfer, EEZ-Exclusive Economic Zone, Sustainable use

Source: IUCN (ID: TRE-000753)

Convention on Biological Diversity

Treaty | Multilateral | Rio de Janeiro |

Keyword: Ecosystem preservation, Institution, EIA, Subsidy/incentive, Policy/planning, Crops/grasses, Biodiversity, Sustainable use, Monitoring, Dispute settlement, Protected area, Ex-situ conservation, Alien species, Financing, Education, Data collection/reporting, Access and benefit sharing, Traditional rights/customary rights, Genetic resources, Biotechnology, Research, Protection of habitats, Liability/compensation, Management/conservation, Technology transfer

Source: IUCN (ID: TRE-001148)

Inter-American Convention for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles

Treaty | Multilateral | Caracas |

Keyword: Hunting/capture, Trade in species, Coastal zone management, Protection of habitats, Inventory, Institution, Stock enhancement/repopulation, Protected animal species, Bycatch, Data collection/reporting, International agreement-text, Wild fauna, Marine resources management, Fishing gear/fishing method, Monitoring, Endangered species, Management/conservation, Turtles

Source: IUCN (ID: TRE-001250)