The trade in electricity will naturally be impacted by the laws and practices of the bodies presiding over its governance.

The article notes that trade in electricity will naturally be impacted by the laws and practices of the bodies presiding over its governance. To assess these bodies’ laws and practices, the bodies themselves must first be identified. The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental organization that is concerned with the regulation of international trade between nations. As a body interested in trade, the trade of electricity between nations naturally merits its attention. The other body within which the governance of electricity trade can be fully examined is the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). The EAEU is an economic union of states located in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and Western Asia. Within this union, the five Member States, the Republic of Armenia, Republic of Belarus, Republic of Kazakhstan, Republic of Kyrgyzstan and the Russian Federation, trade electricity among themselves and with third party countries. As traders of the commodity, the EAEU has developed a robust set of law and policy that governs the trade of electricity. Such EAEU regulations are the Protocol on the EAEU Common Electricity Market which went into effect on July 1st, 2019 and defines the legal basis for the electric energy market of EAEU Member States. As members of the EAEU are also members of the WTO, the laws and regulations of the two bodies must be cohesive for dual members to be in compliance with both. Regulations should not contradict the obligations of EAEU and WTO members under WTO law. As such, the EAEU must make efforts to be in compliance with WTO regulations as opposed to the global organization making efforts to be in compliance with the regional economic union. The EAEU attempts to accomplish this in several ways. Firstly, the text of the EAEU governing documents make efforts to note the prevalence of and compliance with the WTO. For example, the preamble of the EAEU Treaty acknowledges that the parties “take into consideration norms, rules, and principles of the World Trade Organization.” Additionally, Annex 31 to the EAEU Treaty highlights the necessity to interpret trade regimes of the EAEU members in the context of the WTO Agreement. Article 1 of Annex 31 enshrines that, from the date of accession of any Party to the WTO, the provisions of the WTO Agreement became an integral part of the legal framework of the EAEU. According to Article 2 of Annex 31, obligations undertaken by the parties on their accession to the WTO shall prevail over the treaties, concluded within the EAEU and decisions of its bodies. Secondly, the EAEU judicial body, the EAEU Court, takes note of WTO jurisprudence. The EAEU Court can interpret the EAEU Treaty, and other treaties within the EAEU, in the context of WTO agreements based on the approaches of the WTO Dispute Settlement Body (DSB). However, the EAEU Court is not bound by the DSB interpretation of WTO agreements. However, the EAEU Court has established its practice to interpret EAEU law in the context of the WTO law and WTO Dispute Settlement Body case law. Therefore, provisions of EAEU law on trade in electricity could be interpreted in the context of relevant WTO law provisions and jurisprudence. Although the author of this article ultimately concludes that the laws, as they now stand, are incompatible, the EAEU’s attention to the WTO’s promulgations demonstrates a willingness and path towards compatibility.