The University of Economics in Prague (VŠE) issued a publication „Law in Business of Selected Member States of the European Union” containing also contribution by professor Bělohlávek on the “Conflict Between WTO Legal Acts and EU law in Case Law of the Court of Justice of the EU, With Focus on GATT and TRIPS Agreements“ (contribution in English).

As far back as 1972, the European Court of Justice postulated that the provisions of the GATT could not be ascribed the same direct effect as secondary law. The Court determined that, under Community law, WTO rules have no direct effect, even in the wake of changes to the nature and spirit of conventions following the WTO’s formation. Provisions establishing rights for EU citizens that they could exercise directly in court may be an exception, provided that the Community (EU) is bound by this international agreement. There are two exceptions applicable for international agreements to have direct effect (or for such direct effect to be denied): the clear reference exception and the transposition exception. In relation to the clear reference exception, secondary EU law explicitly refers to an international agreement. The transposition exception covers cases in which certain rules of secondary law are adopted to transpose rules of international law. Bearing in mind that the existence of the Community (EU) and its powers were established by primary acts that must be regarded as rules of international law, I find this interpretation highly questionable.