Can’t get enough WTO trade law?

I recognize that the answer to the titular question, for 99% of the readers of this blog, is a resounding “YES, I can get enough. Very easily, in fact.” Therefore, I’m keeping this post short and would like to direct the interested 1% to two other blogs where they can get their fix.

First: International Economic Law and Policy Blog by Simon Lester (and others) is an excellent down-in-the-weeds examination of major legal issues in the international trade world. IELP is not at all an anti-establishment kind of blog, but it is fair to those views and thoughtfully written. Second: Eyes On Trade by Todd Tucker and the staff of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch is not your typical NGO blog, in that it actually delves deeply into pertinent trade issues at hand rather than serving as a mere vehicle for press releases. Of course, it’s always “on message” to a certain extent, but not suffocatingly so.

What is really neat is that Simon and Todd respond to each others’ posts and comments in a pretty constructive way. It’s not clear to me how much they agree, but there’s a great dialogue going on between these two blogs for anyone interested in the nitty-gritty details of trade law. As a plug, I’d say that while niggling over legal details might not seem conducive to thinking about big-picture power and political structures in development, when the legal details are WTO legal details, they become very relevant indeed.

In particular, the discussion right now is about two cases: DS406, the clove cigarettes ruling about which I posted earlier; and a new ruling on DS381, the never-ending tuna-dolphin case in which Mexico claims the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act and associated policies are unfairly discriminatory against Mexican tuna exports.

Both these rulings fall under the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) agreement, although they strike down U.S. laws under different articles of the TBT text. That difference is pretty interesting to trade wonks, and if you’re curious about why, go check out the above blogs.

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