Export restrictions in times of pandemic options and limits under international trade agreement...


Dozens of governments have banned or limited exports of vital medical supplies and food. Are these legal under WTO and EU law? This chapter argues that while such bans are not allowed in normal times, the rules do not apply when the measures are justified on health grounds, are temporarily applied, and are aimed at preventing or relieving critical shortages of essential products. The only real deterrent to export bans is the threat of foreign retaliation that cuts off access to indispensable imports.