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Have WTO Members Successfully Circumvented the US’ Blockade of the Appellate Body? (and How Would We Know?)

On January 26th, in what has become a repeat performance of global governance kabuki, Guatemala put forth a proposal on behalf of 130 World Trade Organization members to relaunch the selection process for Appellate Body adjudicators. It was the 73rd time it was doing so, and for the 73rd time, the US exercised its right to block the proposal. As the US stated, “the old system was not working for the United States and it was not working for many other Members… In contrast, investing in dispute settlement reform presents an opportunity to build a new system that overcomes the problems of the past.”[1] The mention of reform is timely, since there remains hope that later this month, at the WTO Ministerial Conference (MC13) set to take place in Abu Dhabi on February 26th to 29th, WTO members may reach a deal on reforming the Dispute Settlement Understanding in a way that resolves the current impasse. Until that happens, any defendant can appeal a panel ruling “into the void”, where…

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Fukushima Revisited: ALPS Water Release, China’s Import Ban and the SPS Agreement at the WTO

Since the March 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (FDNPS) in Japan, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has been continuously injecting water to cool the fuel debris. This water becomes contaminated with radionuclides. To address this issue, TEPCO has utilized the Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS) to remove…

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Politicization of the 5G rollout: Litigation way for Huawei?

The Chinese government’s ambition to become the global leader in new technologies, manifested in state-led industrial policies such as Made in China 2025, has prompted a strong response. For example, the United States significantly tightened its export control regulations and expanded grounds for foreign direct investment screening. In turn,…

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Tilting the Playing Field

“Levelling the playing field” has been one of the buzzwords of the European Union (EU)’s external economic policy over the last few years. In essence, through various instruments including free trade agreements, the EU has been trying to ensure that foreign entities, goods and services are subject to similar regulatory burdens as their EU counterparts when engaging in…

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Could Russia again invoke its “essential security interests” in relation to the war in Ukraine?

I. Introduction Most recently, it seems that Russia will not initiate its withdrawal from the WTO, and has many investment treaties that are still in force. At present, there is still a possibility that investors may seek to bring claims under these investment treaties in relation to the measures taken by Russia arising out of its…

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