The Regulatory Framework of Export Restrictions in WTO Law and Regional Free Trade Agreements

8 / 2013
Jorge Torres Hidalgo

The use of export restrictions has become more and more common in recent years, evidencing the substantial loopholes existing in the WTO regulation on the matter. As a result of this deficient legal framework, the WTO membership experiences important losses of welfare and increasing political tensions. The multilateral negotiations for an updated discipline on export restrictions, in the context of the Doha Development Round, are blocked. Consequently, members have established a set of preferential bilateral and multilateral agreements to relieve the negative effects of these measures. Likewise, some recent WTO members have committed to stricter regulations as part of their Accession Protocols. Nevertheless, these methods have evidenced some important flaws, and the multilateral scene remains the optimum forum to address export restrictions. This Working Paper proposes a number of measures to improve the legal framework of the quantitative export restrictions and export duties, as well as their notification procedures.


Jorge Torres Hidalgo holds an LL.M. in International and European Law (IES-VUB) and a degree in law from the Autonomous University of Barcelona. He is also qualified as a lawyer in Spain and is currently part of the international trade team of Hogan Lovells' Brussels office. He was formerly a trainee at the Trade Commission of the Spanish Embassy in Morocco and the Energy Charter Secretariat.