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Portuguese Republic v. Council of the European Union (Judgment). Case C-149/96

  • Patricia Egli (a1) and Juliane Kokott (a1)

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1 Case C-149/96, Portuguese Republic v. Council (Nov. 23, 1999) [hereinafter Portugal decision].

2 See Treaty Establishing the European Community, Mar. 25, 1957, Art. 230(1) (previously Art. 173), 298 UNTS 11, as amended by Treaty of Amsterdam, Oct. 2, 1997, reprinted in 37 ILM 56 (1998). Recent cases of the European Court of Justice are available online at <http://www.curia.eu.int/en/index.htm>.

3 Council Decision 96/386/EC of 26 February 1996 Concerning the Conclusion of Memoranda of Understanding Between the European Community and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and Between the European Community and the Republic of India on Arrangements in the Area of Market Access for Textile Products, 1996 O.J. (L 153) 47 [hereinafter Council Decision].

4 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994, Apr. 15, 1994, Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization, Annex 1A, The Results of the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations: The Legal Texts 21 (1994) [hereinafter Results], reprinted in 33 ILM 28 (1994).

5 Agreement on Textiles and Clothing, Apr. 15, 1994, Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization, Annex 1A, Results, supra note 4, at 85.

6 Agreement on Import Licensing Procedures, Apr. 15, 1994, Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization, Annex 1A, Results, supra note 4, at 255.

7 See Opinion of Advocate General Antonio Saggio (Feb. 25, 1999), Case C-149/96, Portuguese Republic v. Council (Nov. 23, 1999), obtainable from <http://www.curia.eu.int/en/index.htm>.

8 See Rutdey, Philip, The Effect of WTO Agreements in EC Law, in The WTO and International Trade Regulation 130, 143 (Rutdey, Philip, Macvay, Iain, & George, Carol eds., 1998); Ernst-Ulrich, Petersmann, Darf die EG das Völkerrecht ignorieren? 8 Europäische Zeitschrift Für Wirtschaftsrecht 325 (1997).

9 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, Oct. 30, 1947, Results, supra note 4, at 486.

10 See Joined Cases 21–24/72, International Fruit Co. v. Produktschap voor Groenten en Fruit, 1972 ECR 1219.

11 See Case C-280/93, Federal Republic of Germany v. Council, 1994 ECR 1–4973.

12 See Case 70/87, Fédération de l’industrie de 1’huilerie de la CEE (Fediol) v. Commission, 1989 ECR 1781, para. 19 [hereinafter Fediol]; Case C-69/89, Nakajima All Precision Co. v. Council, 1991 ECR 1–2069, para. 31 [hereinafter Nakajima].

13 See Opinion of Advocate General Antonio Saggio, supra note 7, para. 24.

14 See id., para. 18. To support his finding, the advocate general referred to Case C-162/96, A. Racke GmbH & Co. v. Hauptzollamt Mainz, 1998 ECR1–3655. See also Kokott, Juliane & Hoffmeister, Frank, Case Report: A. Racke GmbH & Co. v. Hauptzollamt Mainz, 93 AJIL 205 (1999).

15 Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes, Apr. 15, 1994, Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization, Annex 2, Results, supra note 4, at 404.

16 See Portugal decision, supra note 1, paras. 34–41.

17 Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization, Apr. 15, 1994, Results, supra note 4, at 5.

18 In this regard, the Court distinguished the WTO agreement from the agreements concluded between the EC and nonmember countries that introduce a certain asymmetry of obligations or that create special relations of integration with the EC. Portugal decision, supra note 1, para. 42.

19 Id., para. 43.

20 Id., paras. 45–47.

21 Council Decision 94/800/EC of December 1994 Concerning the Conclusion on Behalf of the European Community, as Regards Matters Within Its Competence, of the Agreements Reached in the Uruguay Round Multilateral Negotiations, 1994 O.J. (L 336) 1.

22 Portugal decision, supra note 1, para. 48. It must be noted that the Council Decision was enacted after the conclusion of the WTO agreements. Therefore, it remains a unilateral and ex post facto declaration that cannot alter the legal character of the agreement. See Opinion of Advocate General Antonio Saggio, supra note 7, para. 20.

23 Portugal decision, supra note 1, para. 51.

24 See Case 104/81, Hauptzollamt Mainz v. CA Kupferberg & Cie KG a.A., 1982 ECR 3641 [hereinafter Kupferberg].

25 See General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994, supra note 4, pt. IV; General Agreement on Trade in Services, Apr. 15, 1994, Arts. IV, XIX, Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization, Annex 1B, Results, supra note 4, at 325; Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, Apr. 15, 1994, Art. 66, Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization, Annex 1C, Results, supra note 4, at 365.

26 See Peter-Tobias, Stoll, Freihandel und Verfassung: Einzelstaatliche Gewährleistung und die konstitutionelle Funktion der Welthandelsordnung (GATT/WTO) [Free Trade in a Constitutional Perspective: National Guarantees and the Constitutional Functions of the World Trade Order (GATT/WTO)], 57 Heidelberg J. Int’l L. 83, 11622 (1997).

27 See Uruguay Round Agreements Act, 19 U.S.C. §3512 (c), Pub. L. No. 103–465, 108 Stat. 4815 (1994). It might be noted that even if the United States incorporated the WTO obligations into its internal law, they would not supersede subsequent inconsistent federal statutes. See Whitney v. Robertson, 124 U.S. 190 (1888).

28 See Pieter-Jan, Kuyper, The New WTO Dispute Settlement System: The Impact on the European Community, 29 J. World Trade 49, 64 (1995).

29 Kupferberg, supra note 24, para. 18.

30 See Opinion of Advocate General Antonio Saggio, supra note 7, para. 18.

31 See Opinion 1/94, Competence of the Community to Conclude International Agreements Concerning Services and the Protection of Intellectual Property—Article 228 (6) of the EC, 1994 ECR1–5267.

32 Nakajima, supra note 12.

33 Council Regulation (EEC) No. 2423/88 of 11 July 1988 on Protection Against Dumped or Subsidized Imports from Countries Not Members of the European Community, 1988 O.J. (L 209) 1.

34 Fediol, supra note 12.

35 Council Regulation (EEC) No. 2641/84 of 17 September on the Strengthening of the Common Commercial Policy with Regard in Particular to Protection Against Illicit Commercial Practices, 1984 O.J. (L 252) 1.

36 The Fediol doctrine may be of particular interest in future litigation based on the so-called Trade Barriers Regulation (Council Regulation (EC) No. 3286/94 of December 1994 Laying Down Community Procedures in the Field of the Common Commercial Policy in Order to Ensure the Exercise of the Community’s Rights Under International Trade Rules, in Particular Those Established Under the Auspices of the World Trade Organization, 1994 O.J. (L 349) 71), which repealed and replaced the New Commercial Policy Instrument.

37 See Fernando Castillo de, la Torre, The Status of GATT in EC Law, Revisited, 29 J. World Trade 53, 5961 (1995).

38 According to the U.S. Supreme Court, for example, “an Act of Congress ought never to be construed to violate the law of nations, if any other possible construction remains.” Murray v. Schooner Charming Betsy, 6 U.S. (2 Cranch) 64, 188 (1804) (Marshall, C.J.).

39 See Case C-53/96 Hermès International v. FHT Marketing Choice BV, 1998 ECR1–3603.

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Portuguese Republic v. Council of the European Union (Judgment). Case C-149/96

  • Patricia Egli (a1) and Juliane Kokott (a1)

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