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

Country/Territory
India
Type of court
International court
Date
Oct 12, 1998
Source
UNEP, InforMEA
Court name
WTO Appelate Body
Judge
Feliciano
Bacchus
Lacarte-Muró
Reference number
WT/DS58/AB/R
Language
English
Subject
Fisheries, Sea
Keyword
Fishing gear/fishing method Fishing vessel International agreement-text Fishing vessel marking International trade Fishery management and conservation Marine fisheries Endangered species
Abstract
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.
Full text
WT_DS_58_AB_R.pdf
Website
www.wto.org