Import Restrictions: Namibian Court clarifies Rights of Private Parties
State Parties’ trade-related rights and obligations are derived from international agreements. Governments’ implementation of trade agreements involves domestic measures taken by public officials. They act in terms of powers granted in enabling national laws. But there are limits to what officials may lawfully do. They must exercise their statutory powers and discretions within the limits of the law. In dispensations where the Constitution of the land is supreme, constitutional norms such as the rights to administrative justice and non-discrimination must be respected.
Applications can be brought by private parties (such as importers and exporters of goods) to domestic courts with the necessary jurisdiction to ensure all applicable rules, including constitutional norms around the municipal status of treaties and the constitutional rights of applicants, are complied with. Certain rights of private parties involved in trade and commerce across borders can thus be protected. This is what rules-based trade governance is about.
To provide a context for discussion of the practical implications of these issues for trade governance, this Working Paper analyses two recent judgments by the Courts of Namibia, involving Matador Enterprises (Pty) Ltd and the Ministry of Trade and Industry and Others. The paper begins with an introduction to the position of private parties within the context of international remedies against unlawful acts by foreign States.
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