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Wto: Precautionary Principle

Volume 589: debated on Thursday 7 May 1998

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asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether the World Trade Organisation is required to adopt the precautionary principle in all its procedures; and if not, whether they will take steps to ensure that it does. [HL1624]

The WTO Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures (the SPS Agreement) permits WTO members to take provisional measures where relevant scientific evidence is insufficient, providing the measures are not otherwise inconsistent with the agreement. The application of the precautionary principle was confirmed recently in the WTO Appellate Body's ruling on the "beef hormones" dispute settlement case.