13 February 2001

NGOs Submit AMICUS Brief to WTO Appellate Body on Asbestos:

A coalition of environmental and health NGOs has filed an amicus curiae (’friend of the court’) submission to the WTO Appellate Body (AB) in the dispute between Canada and the EU regarding the French ban on the import of asbestos (see BRIDGES Weekly, 19 September 2001). The submission is the second attempt by the coalition to have its views heard in the proceedings after the AB refused their first request for leave to file a written submission in November last year, arguing that the submission did not comply with the specified requirements (see BRIDGES Weekly, 28 November 2001).

In a statement accompanying the submission, the NGOs — which include the Foundation for International Environmental Law and Development (FIELD) on behalf of Ban Asbestos (International and Virtual) Network, Greenpeace International, International Ban Asbestos Secretariat, and World Wide Fund for Nature (International) — stated their continued belief that they met each requirement and accordingly took this opportunity “to demonstrate in full, with the enclosed brief, what we were unable to demonstrate to the Appellate Body’s satisfaction in the Application for Leave”. They furthermore outlined the reasons why the second submission was “pertinent and useful” and should therefore be accepted by the AB. In the submission itself, the NGOs supported the decision of the AB which upheld the French ban as compatible with WTO rules, but also stated that the “Panel made certain errors of law in its application of customary rules of treaty interpretation of public international law under the Vienna Convention.” The submission is available online at:http://www.field.org.uk/papers/tepap.htm.

ICTSD Internal Files

Source: International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD). 13 February 2001