Max Jansson defends his PhD - Does free movement law allow states to regulate the way that the traded goods are produced?

Many products have physical properties detrimental to the environment. However, also the pollution emitted while making the product may equally well be harmful to the environment. Attention to the effects of these so-called process and production methods (PPMs) has been increasing during the last decade. This raises controversies, however, because the production of goods often takes place in countries different than the one that strives to regulate them.  

On Saturday 24 August, Institute for European Studies (now: Brussels School of Governance) and University of Turku Joint-PhD candidate Max Jansson defended his doctoral thesis publicly on the legal aspects of PPMs in interstate trade at the University of Turku. In his work, Jansson examined specifically the environmental PPM-criteria on renewable energy implemented by the EU Member States and U.S. states from the perspective of rules on free trade. Jansson argued that under WTO law, EU free movement law and U.S. constitutional law, PPM-criteria can indeed be adopted both for in-state production and imported goods, as long as the criteria are carefully designed. Max’s findings and conclusions provide valuable insights to stakeholders that design and apply sustainability criteria and programs on essential products such as biofuels or electricity from renewable resources.

The PhD defense started with an introductory speech by Jansson, followed by an opening statement by professor Gareth Davies (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam), who acted as Max’s opponent. Prof. Davies concluded that the book formed a comprehensive analysis on a topic of great significance for trade law. It thus fills an important gap, as  this is an issue that has been researched surprisingly scarcely so far.