New Role for the WTO
Revising the WTO articles for environmental provisions
Much of the approach and specifications in the WTO charter regarding the environment is at best one of conciliation and concession rendering rather than one of recognition of direct and indirect linkages between economic and environmental features, their dynamic interdependence and the design of policies with less than impatient exploitation of resources of the planet. Despite an eloquent statement in the preamble to the WTO Article of Agreement, little else seems to contribute to that proposed foundation. No doubt, the WTO is not to be deemed as an environmental protection agency and that it should maintain its focus on the governance of the multilateral trading system as per its charter. This assertion also specifies a duty to act: the specified tasks include, inter alia, coherence with within and across various articles of the WTO charter. The WTO working rules cannot ignore the foundation in the preamble. Such a mechanism is not expected to enhance the functioning of the institution nor its contribution to the stated objectives.
The preamble relating to requirements of protection of the environment and natural resources, compliance with sustainable development in the WTO Articles did not get reflected in the new GATT 1994; its interpretation for application of trade and environmental principles continues to fail to recognize the role of environment in most trade disputes. Since the new GATS is more like a twin entity of the GATT, the same terminology and interpretation of various