Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

First Page



The World Trade Organization (WTO) exists for the purpose of promoting and facilitating trade amongst its member nations. When those member nations acceded to the WTO's agreements, however, they acknowledged that sometimes trade barriers are useful tools in protecting themselves from certain evils. This Note addresses one of those useful tools--the public morals exception--which allows a member nation to maintain trade barriers with respect to certain goods or services.

Since the WTO agreements have been in effect, the public morals has lacked two critical things.: a definition and boundaries. This Note will attempt to define the public morals exception in a way that preserves the spirit of the WTO agreements. Furthermore, this Note will propose a test that will allow future WTO panels to decide whether a country's law or regulation, justified under the public morals exception, can legitimately fall within the ambit of the WTO agreements.