The EC Hormone Ban Dispute and the Application of the Dispute Settlement Provisions of the Standards Code

As the concept of a unified European market becomes more of a reality as we approach 1992, talk of a “Fortress Europe” has heightened sensitivity on trade issues among officials of the United States and the European Community (“EC”). The EC’s plan to ban the sale of meat treated with growth hormones within the Member-States has presented a trade issue disconcerting to both sides. This brewing tempest has raised many interesting legal issues involving the dispute settlement provisions set out in the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (“Standards Code”). This note examines why the process failed to resolve, and thus contain, the dispute between the United States and the EC, and offers some tentative proposals for reform.