Labelling settlement products: When eu consumer law meets public international law (but ignores international trade law)

Guy Harpaz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


How should products produced in occupied territories be labelled for export? In recent years, Courts in the UK and Canada addressed this technical yet politically-charged question, in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. More recently, the Court of Justice of the EU was asked to determine the mandatory requirements under EU consumer law of indication of origin of products produced in settlements situated in territories occupied by the State of Israel, namely the Golan Heights, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. In Organisation juive européenne the Court of Justice established that although EU consumer law refers to the need to supply information regarding the country of origin or the place of provenance, those provisions should be interpreted as requiring that foodstuffs originating in an occupied territory must bear not only the indication of that territory but also the indication of that provenance (i.e. indication that it comes from an ‘Israeli settlement’). In imposing broad labelling requirements, the Court heavily relied on both the notion of ‘ethical considerations’ under EU consumer law and on international law, boldly addressing some of the contentious legal and political issues at stake. In adopting this approach, the Court contributed to the harmonious reading of EU consumer law and public international law. Yet its heavy reliance on public international law should be contrasted with its failure to rely on international trade law, a neglect that contributed to selective and discriminatory treatment of Israeli settlement products. Moreover, in imposing broad labelling requirements, the Court shifted its focus from the EU and its Member States to the ultimate EU consumers, thereby advancing the private enforcement of international law in lieu of public enforcement.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)359-382
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of World Trade
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Kluwer Law International BV, The Netherlands.


  • EU-Israel relations
  • Settlement products, interface between public international law and international trade law


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