Labeling and the WTO (Report)
EU Economic Discrimination Against Israel
• Non-Discrimination is a fundamental principle of the WTO. Rules or practices must apply generally to all countries, as opposed to particular countries.
• The EU does not have a general policy on territories that it considers as occupied. Rather, the EU's policies uniquely target Israel and are thus discriminatory. The Western Sahara case demonstrates this.
• Despite two ECJ rulings finding that including Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara in EU trade agreements with Morocco would violate international law principles, the EU continues to treat products originating in occupied Western Sahara as Moroccan territory.
• The EU has considered Moroccan organizations and elected officials as part of the indigenous people of the Western Sahara and has ignored the need to receive native Saharawi approval for any economic agreement. The EU has stated that Western Sahara's occupied status should not prevent economic development from taking place even in the absence of a political and diplomatic solution to the conflict.
• The EU is expected to raise the WTO's "security exception" to justify its discriminatory policies towards Israel. However, a recent WTO panel has defined the security exception quite narrowly.
• Security concerns must refer to a state's essential security interests, namely the protection of its territory and its population from external threats, and the maintenance of law and public order internally. It will be hard for the EU to justify settlement labelling policies based on this definition.
• The EU itself has argued for a narrow definition of the security exception to prevent states from using the exception to justify erecting trade barriers due to political and diplomatic disagreements.