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Tr(e)ading Cautiously: precaution in WTO decision-making


McDonald, J, Tr(e)ading Cautiously: precaution in WTO decision-making, Implementing the Precautionary Principle: Perspectives and Prospects, Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd, Fisher, Jones & von Schomberg (ed), Cheltenham, pp. 160-181. ISBN 1845427025 (2006) [Research Book Chapter]

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Copyright Elizabeth Fisher, Judith Jones and Rene von Schomberg 2006.

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Of all the principles of sustainable development, the precautionary principle is at once the most alluring and elusive. It offers the reassurance of a 'do no harm' philosophy, but lacks the necessary clarity for direct implementation or application. 'Precaution' attempts to bridge the gap between the innovative powers of science and its capacity to anticipate and predict consequences (Harremös el al. 2002, p. 209); in regulatory terms, it recognizes that prevention is better than cure.

The concept of precaution in environmental and health decision making has emerged at a time when international economic activity is expanding in size and geographical scope, largely spurred by the very technological innovation that precaution responds to. The domination of economic developmentalist discourse in global politics means that precaution is constantly under pressure; criticized. for being anti-progress. Nowhere are these tensions better demonstrated than within the principal vehicle for global economic integration, expansion and liberalization the World Trade Organization (WTO). As part of this book exploring the implementation of the principle, this chapter examines precaution in the law and practice of the WTO.

Item Details

Item Type:Research Book Chapter
Research Division:Law and Legal Studies
Research Group:Environmental and resources law
Research Field:Environmental law
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Justice and the law
Objective Field:Justice and the law not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:McDonald, J (Professor Jan McDonald)
ID Code:72310
Year Published:2006
Deposited By:Law
Deposited On:2011-08-25
Last Modified:2013-03-15
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