JEAIL > Volume 7(1); 2014 > Articles
Research Paper
Published online: May 30, 2014

Restricting Biofuel Imports in the Name of the Environment: How Does the Application of WTO Rules Affect Developing Countries?

Haniff Ahamat & Nasarudin Rahman

Haniff Ahamat
International Islamic University Malaysia, Malaysia
AT O. Box 10, 50728, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Corresponding Author:

Nasarudin Rahman
International Islamic University Malaysia, Malaysia
ATO. Box 10, 50728, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Corresponding Author:

ⓒ Copyright YIJUN Institute of International Law
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


There are calls for biofuel imports from developing countries to be restricted. The imports which are either in the form of end-product (bioethanol or biodiesel) or feedstock (oil palm, sugar cane molasses, etc) are allegedly produced in ways which can threaten the environment and violate human rights. This article finds that there is no specific regime for trade in biofuels within the WTO system. Hence any restriction on such trade is governed by the existing trade regimes including tariffs and non-tariff measures. However, the existing WTO tariff and non-tariff (TBT, anti-dumping and anti-subsidy) regimes are still inadequate in ensuring that measures are taken against biofuel feedstock and products that were produced in unsustainable ways. The use of these measures without being subject to clear defining rules will create a danger that they serve a protectionist rather than social or environmental objectives.

Keywords : WTO law, International Environmental Law, Renewable Energy, Like Products, Sustainable Development, Special & Differential Treatment

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