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Dr. Nashat Mahmoud


Purpose: The outbreak of Covid-19 as a pandemic has deep-rooted health and economic crises in the fabric of various nations. The impact has been felt in all sectors of life, one crucial sector being that of trade. Nations in light of the outbreak have taken measures to impose trade restrictions and embargos. The reason behind this measure adopted by means of various arrangements and policies is to ensure that the State maintains the domestic security of its foodstuffs, medicines and other essential goods due to the uncertainty. The question that would arise due to such moves is the validity of the measures under the GATT provisions that regulates trade between various nations based on the principles enshrined under the same. The paper seeks to study the various intricacies of the GATT provisions, primarily Article XI, Article XX and Article XXI to understand the feasibility and justification of such measures surrounding trade restrictions that have arisen due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Methodology:The paper has adopted the doctrinal research methodology where due reading has been done to the GATT provisions and the SPS and TBT Agreements. The various tests as laid down by the WTO Panels and Appellate body has been observed to understand the grounds on which the provisions can be claimed for. The paper focuses on drawing linkages with the grounds of such bans with the precedents to understand the current situation in law and understand the shortfalls.

Findings:Throughthemeans of the research, it can be observed as to how the current position of law under the GATT provisions is able to adequately address the issue of trade ban in light of the Covid-19 Pandemic. The grounds for the imposition of the trade bans and restrictions under Article XX(b) and Article XXI can be seen to provide the nations a leverage to take such measures as the tests are met to impose such restrictions. But it is also pertinent to note the serious implications that such restrictions would have on  the developing countries. The current scenario under law should be amended to incorporate the effects of Covid-19 Pandemic and subsequent issues around the same.

Research Implications:The research is conducted keeping in mind the primary provisions under GATT which are Article III, Article XI, Article XX and Article XXI along with the SPS and the TBT Agreements of 1995. Instances from the past and measures adopted by various Nations in light of the Covid-19 Pandemic have been considered as well.

Originality:The paper intends to contribute to the research related to the developing knowledge and conditions of Trade related aspects under GATT, restricting to restrictions and bans on trade imposed by the GATT members under the vice of the hardships caused to their economy under the Covid-19 Pandemic.


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