The principle of sovereignty over natural resources and the WTO

Switzer, Stephanie; Delimatsis, P and Reins, L, eds. (2021) The principle of sovereignty over natural resources and the WTO. In: Encyclopedia on Trade and Environmental Law. Elgar Encyclopedia of Environmental Law . Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UK. (In Press)

[thumbnail of Switzer-EE-2021-The-principle-of-sovereignty-over-natural-resources-and-the]
Text. Filename: Switzer_EE_2021_The_principle_of_sovereignty_over_natural_resources_and_the.pdf
Accepted Author Manuscript

Download (673kB)| Preview


State sovereignty is a central principle of international law, with sovereignty over natural resources considered a fundamental expression of such state sovereignty. Sovereignty over natural resources is itself recognised as a principle of customary international law. There is no explicit reference to sovereignty over natural resources within the WTO-covered agreements. Nonetheless, the principle has been used as an aid to interpretation by WTO panels in two disputes; namely China – Raw Materials and China – Rare Earths. This chapter evaluates both disputes with a view to ascertaining more fully the relevance of the principle to WTO law. It further offers insights from the literature on certain of the more troubling aspects of this jurisprudence.


Switzer, Stephanie ORCID logoORCID:; Delimatsis, P and Reins, L