Subsidy regulation in WTO Law: Some implications for fossil fuels and renewable energy

Anna Marhold

    Research output: Working paperDiscussion paperOther research output


    This contribution discusses WTO subsidies disciplines in the context of the energy sector. After laying out the relevant disciplines, it will discuss the paradox of WTO law with respect to subsidies towards fossil fuels vis-à-vis those towards renewable energy. It is clear that subsidies on clean energy production and consumption are needed to correct market failures and to promote legitimate policy goals such as contributing to sustainable development through the scale up of clean energy, including expanding its trade.2 However, experience has shown that support schemes for clean energy by their nature and design make them sensitive to WTO dispute settlement. Much more harmful subsidies on fossil fuels, on the other hand, are omnipresent yet often escape being addressed in the multilateral trading system. The contribution will draw upon the examples of ‘energy dual pricing’ and Feed-In Tariffs (FITs). It will argue that while it may be difficult to tackle fossil fuels subsidies in the WTO forum, more efforts are needed to (re)legalise environmental subsidies.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages27
    Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2016

    Publication series

    NameTILEC Discussion Paper


    • WTO law
    • international economic law
    • law and economics
    • energy
    • environment
    • subsidies
    • state aid
    • fossil fuels
    • renewable energy


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