The international trade in biotech products boosts national economies and advances scientific as well as technology innovation. However, while trading these products increases the spread of benefits on a global scale, it also increases risks to human health and the environment (ie biosafety). This is because the effects of this technology on biosafety are still highly uncertain. Against this background, the judicial bodies under the World Trade Organization (WTO) find themselves in the middle of an intricate and polarised debate in which a proper judicial balance between free trade and biosafety becomes fundamental in order to determine whether requests for ensuring human and environmental health justify trade restrictions. This paper aims to highlight that the WTO is institutionally unready for balancing economic and non-economic values. In suggesting how to rationalise the judicial balance between the competing interests in the context of biotechnology, this paper demonstrates that the judicial adoption of a well-structured proportionality analysis can turn the current balance by chance into a balance by structure.
- judicial balance between economic and non-economic values
- proportionality analysis under the WTO
- Robert Alexy's theory under the WTO