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The relationship between the international law of trade and the international law of human rights has commanded an increasing amount of scholarly attention in the past few years, perhaps spurred by the well-known events at Seattle in 1999. This article offers some reflections on this relationship, focusing on the permissibility under international law of imposing trade sanctions against nations that commit violations of international human rights. Part I begins with some reflections on the historical relationship between these two bodies of law. Part I also considers why the human rights community appears to feel threatened by the international trade system, and not the other way around. Part II considers whether, under current trade norms, trade concessions may be suspended in response to human rights violations. Part III turns to the normative question: how should the World Trade Organization (WTO) address human rights?

Publication Citation

6 J. Int'l Econ. L. 797-839 (2003)