TITLE

Not Yet Out of the Woods: Australia's Attempt to Regulate Illegal Timber Imports and World Trade Organization Obligations

AUTHOR(S)
SAUL, BEN; STEPHENS, TIM
PUB. DATE
January 2011
SOURCE
Australian International Law Journal;2011, Vol. 18 Issue 1, p143
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
The Illegal Logging Prohibition Bill, introduced in the Commonwealth Parliament in 2011, gives effect to a 2010 election commitment of the Gillard government to restrict imports of illegally logged timber products into Australia. This article assesses whether the Bill safely navigates the competing norms and values that the international trade and environmental law regimes embody. It finds that while the Bill pursues legitimate environmental purposes, aspects of it raise potential problems of incompatibility with WTO law because it takes a decentralised national standards approach. The article also considers the main regulatory alternative to the Bill, namely the creation of uniform Australian standards for all timber products (embracing both imports and locally produced timber) which would meet minimum requirements of sustainability, biological diversity and pollution control. It is argued that this encounters its own trade law difficulties. The article concludes by placing the trade law issues in the broader political context of WTO dispute settlement, and contends that the Bill has a reasonable chance of operating successfully and stimulating similar regulatory approaches in other timber-importing jurisdictions.
ACCESSION #
97174043

 

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