After some controversy in the 1990s, the World Trade Organization (“WTO”) adopted a provision in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (“GATT”) that created exceptions to the GATT’s free trade rules. These exceptions, codified at Article XX, allow nations to impose trade restrictions relating to, inter alia, the conservation of the environment, the promotion of human health, and the protection of national treasures. Since then, various countries have adopted regulations aimed at protecting the environment with challenges to those regulations moving through the WTO Dispute Settlement Body (“DSB”).
Virga, Joy Marie. "Article XX: Protector of Public Health, the Environment, and the New Provisions of European Union’s Fuel Quality Directive." Sustainable Development Law & Policy 14, no. 1 (2014): 46, 75.