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The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and the Wto—Co-Existence or Incoherence?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 January 2008

Asif H. Qureshi
Affiliation:
Professor of International Economic Law, University of Manchester. I am grateful to Willie Chatsika from the Legal Affairs Division of the WTO and Christopher Moir of the DTI for facilitating the early access to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, and to colleagues at the Faculty of Law, University of Manchester, especially Andrew Griffiths and Ben Richardson, for their assistance.

Extract

The beginning of the new millennium spawned a biosafety protocol1 for the transboundary movement of genetically modified organisms,2 against the background of an existing WTO code3 concerned mainly with liberal trade. The co-existence of the two codes, and their almost separate development, reflects the fact that the international movement of GMOs raises concerns both of biosafety and liberal trade. However, their co-existence also invites a number of questions—viz., the level to which they complement each other, the level of duplication, and the levels to which they are adequate qua normative frameworks for biotechnology products. In short, the two systems beg the question whether they co-exist happily, or provide for incoherence. This article is not intended as an exhaustive analysis of the codes, but rather as a framework for a focus on the respective codes, as well as their relationship to each other, from a legal perspective.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © British Institute of International and Comparative Law 2000

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References

1. The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, agreed on 29 Jan. 2000 in Montreal.

2. Hereinafter referred to as GMOs.

3. World Trade Organization Agreements. For text see WTO, The Results of the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations, 1994.Google Scholar

4. For general background on biotechnology see for example Hobbelink, Henk, Biotechnology and the future of world agriculture, Zed Books Ltd. (1991).Google Scholar

5. See for example Art. 3(1) of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. For background material on biotechnology see for example OECD, “Modern Biotechnology and the OECD” (June 1999) available at www.oecd.org.

6. Genes are present in all living organisms, in each of their cells; and contain instructions which gives the organism its particular characteristics. The complete set of instructions in an organism is referred to as genome. See OECD, op. cit. at p.4.

7. See OECD, op. cit. at p.4.

8. E.g., plants animals and micro–organisms.

9. E.g., forests and coastal dunes. See for example Bosselmann, K., “Plants and Politics: The International Legal Regime Concerning Biotechnology and Biodiversity” in Colorado Journal of International Environmental Law and Policy, Vol. 7, Number 1 (Winter 1996) p.111 at 112.Google Scholar

10. See OECD, op. cit. at p.1.

11. ibid.

12. ibid.

13. OECD, Observer, 1 03 1999.

14. OECD (June 1999) op. cit. at p 3.

15. ibid., at p. 3 referring to a survey by Ernst & Young.

16. ibid.

17. OECD, op. cit. at p.4.

18. ibid.

19. ibid.

20. See, for example, Donald J. Johnstone OECD Observer (1 Mar. 1999).

21. It will enter into force on the 90th day after the date of deposit of the 50th instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession. (See Article 37 of the Protocol.)

22. See WTO, The Results of the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations, 1994Google Scholar. For a basic overview of the WTO see for example Qureshi, Asif H., World Trade Organization—Implementing International Trade Norms M.U.P (1996)Google Scholar; and ibid. International Economic Law, Sweet & Maxwell (1999).

23. OECD, op. cit. at p.7.

24. It will enter into force on the 90th day after the date of deposit of the 50th instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession. (See Article 37 of the Protocol.)

25. 31 I.L.M 818 (1992).

26. Alden, Edward, “Greens and free-traders join to cheer GM crop deal” in Financial Times, 31 01 2000.Google Scholar

27. See Miller, H. & Conko, G., Financial Times (7 Mar. 2000).Google Scholar

28. Article 28 of the Convention.

29. Decision 11/5 of 17 Nov. 1995 of the Conference of the Parties.

30. Article 23 of the Convention.

31. See, for example, Sands, P., Principles of international environmental law, M.U.P (1995) at p.386.Google Scholar

32. Article 19(3) of the Convention.

33. Article 19(4) of the Convention.

34. Article 8(g) of the Convention.

35. Biotechnology equates here essentially with genetic modifications (see Article 3(1) of the Protocol).

36. See Articles 1 and 4 of the Protocol.

37. Articles 1 and 4 of the Protocol.

38. See Article 5 of the Protocol.

39. Article 2(4) of the Protocol. See also Articles 11(4) and 14(4) of the Protocol.

40. Article 14 of the Protocol.

41. Article 2(2) of the Protocol.

42. Article 16(5) of the Protocol.

43. Article 26 of the Protocol.

44. See Article 28(1) of the Protocol and Article 20(1) of the Convention.

45. Article 16(3) of the Protocol.

46. Article 16(4) of the Protocol.

47. On the precautionary approach see for example, Sands, P., Principles of international environmental law. MUP (1994) pp.208213.Google Scholar

48. See the Preamble to the Protocol and Art. 1 of the Protocol. See also the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development 1992 in 31 I.L.M 874 (1992).

49. ibid.

50. Article 16 of the Protocol and Article 8(g) of the Convention.

51. ibid.

52. ibid.

53. Article 16(3) of the Protocol.

54. Article 25 of the Protocol.

55. Article 19 of the Protocol.

56. ibid.

57. Article 20 of the Protocol.

58. ibid.

59. Article 31 of the Protocol.

60. ibid.

61. Article 29 of the Protocol.

62. See Articles 8–10 and 12 of the Protocol.

63. See Article 7 of the Protocol.

64. See Article 17 of the Protocol.

65. See Article 7 of the Protocol.

66. See H. Miller & G. Conko op. cit. n.27.

67. Article 11 of the Protocol.

68. See H. Miller & G. Conko op. cit. n.27.

69. Article 8 of the Protocol.

70. See Annex I of the Protocol.

71. See Article II of the Protocol.

72. See Annex III of the Protocol.

73. See Article 17 of the Protocol.

74. Sec Article 17 of the Protocol.

75. Article 6(1) of the Protocol.

76. Article 6(2) of the Protocol.

77. Article 3(b) of the Protocol.

78. Article 7(4) of the Protocol.

79. Article 21 of the Protocol.

80. Article 21 of the Protocol.

81. See e.g., Articles 8,10,11, 17,20 and 21.

82. See Article 20 of the Protocol.

83. ibid.

84. ibid.

85. ibid.

86. See OECD, Observer “regulatory oversight” 03 1999.Google Scholar

87. Article 23 of the Protocol.

88. Articles 9(2)(c) and 11(4) of the Protocol.

89. Article 6(2) of the Protocol.

90. Article 10(3) of the Protocol.

91. See Articles 15, 10(6), 12 and 26.

92. Article 10(1) and 15(2) of the Protocol.

93. Article 15 of the Protocol.

94. ibid.

95. See Annex II.

96. Article 15(3) of the Protocol.

97. Article 10(6) and 11(8) of the Protocol.

98. Article 26 of the Protocol.

99. Article 12 of the Protocol.

100. Article 13 of the Protocol.

101. Article 10(2) of the Protocol.

102. See Article 10(3) of the Protocol.

103. Article 12 of the Protocol.

104. Article 12 of the Protocol.

105. Article 11(8) of the Protocol.

106. Article 18 of the Protocol.

107. ibid.

108. Article 16 of the Protocol and Article 8(g) of the Convention.

109. Article 6(2) of the Protocol.

110. See in particular Arts.22 and 28 of the Protocol and Article 20 of the Convention.

111. ibid. and see also Article 11(9).

112. Article 20 of the Convention.

113. Article 20(5) of the Convention.

114. Article 20(2) of the Convention.

115. Article 28 of the Protocol.

116. Article 28(6) of the Protocol.

117. See Article 11(6) of the Protocol.

118. ibid. This has been described somewhat too glowingly as a “means to decide” for developing countries where they do not have relevant domestic legislation. See U.K. Cabinet Office Press Release, 29 Jan. 2000 at www.gm-info.gov.uk/200/pressbiosafety.htm.

119. Article 20(4) of the Convention and Article 28 of the Protocol.

120. See for example Articles 11(9); 22 and 28(6) of the Protocol.

121. ibid.

122. See Articles 2(4) and 14 of the Protocol.

123. Article 32 of the Protocol.

124. Article 25 of the Protocol.

125. ibid.

126. See Articles 32 and 34 of the Protocol and Article 27 of the Convention.

127. Article 27 of the Convention.

128. Article 33 of the Protocol.

129. Article 34 of the Protocol.

130. Hereinafter referred to as SPS.

131. Hereinafter referred to as TBT.

132. Hereinafter referred to as TRIPs.

133. See WTO Press Pack, World Trade Organization 3rd Ministerial Conference, Seattle, issued 28 Nov. 1999 at p.20.

134. See Canada Proposals for the Establishment of a Working Party on Biotechnology in WTO (WT/GCAV/359 (12 Oc. 1999)); and Japan, Proposal of Japan on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) (WT/GC/W/365 (12 Oct. 1999)).

135. Canada, ibid.

136. Op. cit. SPS Agreement Annex A.

137. ibid., and Quintillan, S. P., “Free Trade, Public Health Protection and Consumer Information in the European and WTO ContextJ.W.T. 33(6) (1999) at p.171.Google Scholar

138. Article 5 of the Protocol.

139. ibid. EC Measures Concerning Meat and Meat Products (Hormones) WTO AB-1997–4.

140. See Annex B of the SPS Agreement.

141. See Annex A of the SPS Agreement.

142. ibid., Annex A.

143. ibid., Article 5(7) and EC Measures Concerning Meat and Meat Products (Hormones) WTO AB-1997–4.

144. See the preamble to the Protocol and its Articles 10(6) and 11(8).

145. ibid., Article 1.5.

146. ibid., Article 2(2).

147. Article 1.3 of the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade.

148. Annex 1 of the Agreement.

149. See WTO G/TBT/Notif.99.330

150. G/TBT/Notif.97.704.

151. See for example McGovern, E.International Trade Regulation, Globefield Press at p.7.21–2.Google Scholar

152. See for example Article 2 of the TBT Agreement.

153. Op. tit. S. P. Quintillan at p.190.

154. See Article 2 and Annex I Agreement on Agriculture. See also for example E. McGovern op. cit. at p.14.11–2.

155. Article 14 of the Agreement on Agriculture.

156. Annex 5; Section A(l)(d) of the Agreement on Agriculture.

157. See Article XI(2) c(1) of GATT 1994. Not agricultural products within the meaning of the Agreement on Agriculture. See E. McGovern op. cit. at p.14.33.

158. Article Xl(2)(c).

159. See E. McGovern op. cit. at p.14.31.

160. See Article 13 and Annex 2 of the Agreement on Agriculture.

161. Article 27 of TRIPs.

162. See Article 5 of the Protocol.

163. Article 8(1) of TRIPs.

164. Article 8(2) of TRIPs.

165. Article 27(2) of TRIPs.

166. Article 27(3) of TRIPs.

167. See 1999 OECD Report mentioned in OECD Policy Brief op. cit. at p.3.

168. See Gervais, D., The TRIPs Agreement, Sweet & Maxwell (1998) at p.151.Google Scholar

169. See for example McGovern op. cit. at p.21.22–14.

170. See for example K. Bosselmann op. cit. at p.125.

171. Ibid.

172. Article 27 3 (b) of TRIPs.

173. See for example Acharya, R., “Patenting of biotechnology” (1991) 6 J.W.T. 71Google Scholar; and Miller, Marian A. L., The Third World in Global Environmental Politics, Open University Press (1995) especially ch.6.Google Scholar

174. ibid., at p.82

175. ibid., at p.81.

176. See WTO Press Pack, op. cit. supra n. 133 at p.27.

177. ibid. Article 1 of the Convention.

178. ibid. Article 15 of the Convention.

179. ibid. Article 15(5) of the Convention.

180. See for example Article 28(3) of the Protocol.

181. See for example the repetitions in Articles 10(6), 11(8), 15(1) and Annex II.

182. Ankle 14(1) of the Protocol.

183. See WTO, Trade and Environment in the WTO at www/wto/org/environ

184. ibid.

185. See for example Hudec, R. in Bhagwati, J. N. & Hudec, R. E. (eds) Fair Trade and Harmonisation (1996) at p.121.Google Scholar

186. See Article 30(3) of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties 1969.

187. ibid.

188. See Article 31(3)(c) of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties 1969. See also, for example, the United States—Import Prohibition of Certain Shrimp and Shrimp Products: Report of the WTO Appellate Body, WT/DS58/AB/R.

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