Are Biotech Crops and Conventional Crops Like Products? An Analysis Under GATT

By: Julian Wong

The transatlantic debate over the use of genetically modified organisms (“GMO”s) as food products, with the US as a proponent on one side, and the European Union (“EU”) as an opponent on the other, is set to take center stage. The US has initiated formal legal action under the World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement System, charging that the EU violates several agreements of international trade law, including Article III of GATT, an anti-protectionist measure which forbids a country from favoring its own products over imported “like products.” The US claims that GMOs and conventional crops are “like products,, and that the EU moratorium on GMOs thus violates Article III. This iBrief assesses the US “like products” claim, most notably in light of Asbestos, a recent WTO case which provides important guidance for determining likeness under four criteria.

Cite: 2003 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 0027

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