The article analyses the provisions of the introduction (the Chapeau) to the GATT Article XX. The use of the “general exceptions” provided by GATT Article XX allows retreating from the established the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade rules. And the introduction to the Article XX provides that if such measures are not used as a means of arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination between countries or a disguised restriction on international trade, nothing in the GATT rules does prevent the adoption or enforcement by any contracting party of measures enshrined in the Article XX. The purpose of the Chapeau is to maintain a balance between the interests of the WTO members by imposing a ban on the abuse of the application of the provisions of the GATT Article XX. And although there are no precise boundaries between the categories covered by the Chapeau, in assessing the contested issues the WTO DSB considers circumstances of the case in question and evaluates the final result, as well as the actual result of the measures applied by WTO participant. In general, the experience and current practice of the WTO DSB confirms that the Chapeau effectively performs its role of preventing abuses by members of the WTO. But at the same time there is a risk that in the context of high legal standards, the use of the “general exceptions” provided by the Article XX, may become rather difficult, if not completely impossible.
About the author
Regina Bikmametova – Ph.D. student in International Law, Lomonosov Moscow State University
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