CIEL and a Coalition of European and Latin American NGOs submit an amicus curiae brief to the WTO’s Appellate Body in the Brazil-Retreaded Tyres case

October 11, 2007

Geneva, Switzerland — On October 11, 2007, a coalition of human rights and environmental organizations from Europe and Mercosur countries submitted an amicus curiae brief to the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Appellate Body in the Brazil-Retreaded Tyres case.

In this dispute, the EC challenged Brazil’s ban on the importation of retreaded tyres, complaining that Brazil’s ban is disguised protectionism that violates several GATT disciplines. Brazil argued that the ban is necessary for the protection of health and the environment, given the risks resulting from tyre waste.

In June 2007, a WTO Panel accepted the environmental and health arguments presented by Brazil and by a coalition of NGOs in an amicus curiae brief. Specifically, the WTO Panel acknowledged the clear linkage between the import of retreaded tyres and the public health and environmental risks associated with the increased tyre waste resulting from such imports. While Brazil technically lost the case because because used tyres that increased environmental and health risks were allowed to be imported, Brazil can bring itself into conformity with WTO law by putting an end to the imports of used tyres, without having to change its environmental and health measure (i.e., the import ban on retreaded tyres). In the end, the WTO Panel’s reasoning and decision makes an important contribution to the WTO’s trade & environment jurisprudence. See: WTO Panel accepts environmental and health arguments in the Brazil-Retreaded Tyres case, in line with CIEL’s amicus curiae brief


On September 3, the EC filed its notice of appeal with the World Trade Organization (WTO), indicating that it would challenge the Panel’s environment and health-related findings. CIEL and WWF, as well as NGOs in Brazil and Europe, sent letters to the EC expressing concerns about the EC’s decision to appeal. See: CIEL and WWF express concern about the EC’s decision to appeal in WTO dispute on Retreaded Tyres
The amicus curiae brief presented to the Appellate Body by the NGO coalition discusses how the WTO Panel properly concluded that Brazil’s import prohibition of retreaded tyres is necessary for health and environmental reasons. It supports the Panel’s findings regarding the risks associated with tyre waste, the measure’s capabilities to address such risks, and the absence of alternative measures to the import prohibition. The amicus curiae brief also provides analysis to assist the Appellate Body in the interpretation and application of GATT Article XX generally, particularly in respect of health and environmental laws.

The amicus curiae brief was presented by the following coalition of non-profit, public interest organizations: Associação de Combate aos Poluentes (ACPO), Brazil; Associação de Proteção ao Meio Ambiente de Cianorte (APROMAC), Brazil; Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), USA and Switzerland; Centro de Derechos Humanos y Ambiente (CEDHA), Argentina; Conectas Direitos Humanos, Brazil; Friends of the Earth Europe; The German NGO Forum on Environment and Development; Justiça Global, Brazil; Instituto O Direito por Um Planeta Verde Planeta Verde, Brazil.

For further information, please contact Marcos Orellana, Senior Attorney, + 1 202-742-5847,