Application of the WTO agreements in national courts: comparative aspects of worldwide and Lithuanian judicial practices
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This article analyses the main World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements: the 1994 GATT agreement and the agreements on the determination of the customs value and customs origin of goods. It also describes the problems involved in granting the direct effect of this external legislation in the Republic of Lithuania from the time of its accession to the WTO in 2001 and entry into the European Union (EU) in 2004. The article seeks to answer the question of whether the external WTO legislation should be recognised as legal acts in the national legal system, with the capability for direct application in judicial proceedings. The article also considers whether individual persons can invoke the WTO agreements at a national level (in national courts) to protect their legitimate rights and interests in international trade operations. In addition, it includes an analysis of practices followed by judicial authorities in the EU and countries in other regions, including the individual EU member states. The analysis leads to the conclusion that, unlike the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union, the practices and experience of the Republic of Lithuania are essentially based on the provision that these sources of law could be directly applied at a national level in judicial cases related to the taxation of international trade operations. Analysis of the relevant issues is based on both theoretical (analysis and synthesis, systematic analysis) and empirical methods (the statistical analysis of data, the evaluation and textual analysis of documents – in particular, decisions of national courts and the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU)).
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