Science, Risk Assessment, and the SPS Agreement

Lukasz Gruszczynski

in Regulating Health and Environmental Risks under WTO Law

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780199578924
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191722646 | DOI:

Series: International Economic Law Series

 Science, Risk Assessment, and the SPS Agreement

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This chapter addresses the science-based provisions of the SPS Agreement. The main part of the discussion is dedicated to risk assessment disciplines as elaborated by the SPS case law. This includes the problem of the required structure and the content of risk assessment, the role of scientific minority opinions as a legitimate basis for a SPS measure, and standard of review applicable to evaluation of scientifically complex issues. Against this analysis, the last part of the chapter attempts to identify the ultimate function that is performed by science under the SPS Agreement and to propose some critical observations on its capacity to perform such a role. It concludes that although science-based criteria may compromise the choice of WTO members regarding an acceptable level of risk, a proper interpretation of the SPS Agreement may reduce that danger, maintaining at the same time advantages of the current system.

Keywords: good veterinary practice; hormones; junk science; minority scientific opinion; proportionality; risk assessment; science and law; scientific evidence; SPS Agreement; standard of review

Chapter.  24742 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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