Communication Flows in International Economic Law
The recent WTO Appellate Body’s decision on European Communities – Measures Prohibiting the Importation and Marketing of Seal Products (Seal Products case) highlights the sensitivity surrounding the invocation of public morals to restrict imports based on the welfare concerns for animals with respect to imports of animal products. The ‘public moral’ exception has been in the books of the multilateral trading system for some time and slowly but surely the WTO dispute settlement is being engaged in clarifying the parameters of the ‘public morals’ exception in international trade. Regardless however of the discourse in the context of the outcome of the Seals Products case on the scope of ‘public morals’ as an exception in international trade there is of course a wider context within which this particular debate is set namely whether international trade can and should continue to be set in its traditional trade/mercantilist/market orientation somewhat in clinical isolation from the disparate values including fundamental values common to all nations. In this respect the impact of sustainable development, human rights and the values encapsulated in the Millennium Declaration cannot be ignored.