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WTO : New insights into the world of export regulations and controls

September 20, 2023
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Brussels - A new publication launched at the Public Forum on 15 September provides insights into how WTO members have used different international agreements and conventions beyond the WTO as the basis for imposing export regulations aimed at ensuring objectives such as environmental protection, hazardous waste management, weapons control and combatting illegal drugs trade.

Ensuring that international trade in sensitive or dangerous products takes place safely requires that WTO members work together in enforcing different types of controls, some of which have to be enforced by the exporting members.  Some of these export regulations and controls have been developed over many years of international cooperation and are embodied in a large number of international agreements and conventions, and many WTO member are party to them.

As a result, WTO members utilize a wide range of measures, such as prohibitions, export licences, regulations and other controls, to assist in risk management and regulating trade in controlled and sensitive goods for fulfilling specific environmental objectives, managing hazardous wastes and chemicals, combating illicit drugs and harmful substances, promoting international peace and weapons controls.

The new WTO publication explores for the first time how these export-related frameworks developed beyond the WTO operate in practice and how they are linked to the multilateral trading system.

“The book is intended to serve as a guide for policymakers, government officials, academia and members of the public with an interest in the areas covered,” said Suja Rishikesh Mavroidis Director of the WTO's Market Access Division, in a foreword to the publication. “By fostering a better understanding of the existing international agreements regulating exports and how they link to the multilateral trading system, the WTO can help to strengthen global cooperation, promote transparency and perhaps even inspire future agreements seeking to strike a balance between advancing international trade and  protecting the global community against potential risks”, she said.

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