The recent BP oil spill is one of the most critical environmental disasters that has occurred in the recent past, in terms of the colossal levels of damage that are being caused. Since the 20th of April, 2010 when the deepwater horizon rig exploded and sank off the coast of…
This is quite apart from the enormous waste of a valuable resource such as oil, which the world can ill afford during a time of fuel scarcity.
The incident invokes environmental law, because BP is a British organization whilst the major part of the environmental damage has been caused to the United States. With increasing globalization, international trade levels have also increased and the broad objectives of the GATT – General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade- have been to foster trade among countries and to reduce the restrictions that are imposed by individual nations in order to protect their own, narrow, regional interests. Multilateral agreements on the environment are those agreements made between various countries with the objective of preserving and protecting the environment. They may comprise two kinds of agreements: (a) agreements on the preservation of the environment through measures like preventing global warming, ozone depletion, rise in sea levels or other measures related to the environment and (b) agreements that link trade and the environment, wherein certain measures are included to discourage trading in those commodities that may be linked to unsound environmental practices or where the materials produced may be hazardous.2
Recent trends for the formulation of multi-lateral agreements to restrict trade in the interest of protection of the environment3 have received a mixed reaction from developing countries. While on the one hand, these agreements are welcomed because they help to protect the fragile environment, some developing countries also perceive these agreements as barriers to trade, which will hinder their competitiveness because they are already handicapped in their access to finance, technology and information.4 In the case of oil exploitation in particular, the potential threat to the environment ...
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