The WTO Throws Down the Gauntlet on Trade Restrictions and ‘National Security’

The trade port in Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, Dec. 2, 2018 (AP photo by Efrem Lukatsky).
The trade port in Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, Dec. 2, 2018 (AP photo by Efrem Lukatsky).

The World Trade Organization recently released a decision that it surely would have preferred to avoid. Ukraine had challenged restrictions on its exports imposed by Russia in the wake of its 2014 takeover of Crimea. The Russian government claimed that an exception to international trade rules allowed it alone to decide when trade restrictions are “necessary” for national security reasons. Moscow argued that the WTO should have no role in adjudicating the dispute. Since the WTO had never previously ruled on the national security justifications for trade restrictions, the Russia-Ukraine case is important in its own right. But lurking behind […]

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