WTO Dispute Settlement Body

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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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US – Origin Marking Requirement: Did the WTO Panel Get the Balance Right between Trade Security and National Security?

On 21 December 2022, the WTO Dispute Settlement Panel ruled against the United States (US) on the product labeling requirement for all goods from Hong Kong to be marked “China” as their country of origin. This requirement came from the executive order that then US President Donald Trump signed on 14 July…

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A critical reaction to Joost Pauwelyn and Krzysztof Pelc’s “The WTO Secretariat’s ‘Open Secret’: Unpacking the Controversy”

In their EJIL:Talk! posts of August 18  and 19, in which they respond to a Reply by Armin Steinbach, Joost Pauwelyn and Krzystof Pelc heavily criticized the role of the WTO Secretariat in supporting the WTO panels. In their opinion, which is based on previous research by them published in a recent issue of…

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Overcoming the Global Vaccine and Therapeutics Lag and ‘Vaccine Apartheid’: Abuse of Rights in the EU’s Continued Blocking of the TRIPS Waiver for COVID Vaccines and Related Medicines

Entering the third year of this global pandemic, the United States posted a grim global record of 1 million COVID cases on 3 January 2022.  This record, of course, exists in a shadow of relative non-transparency about COVID incidences, fatalities, and hospitalizations in many parts of the world, arising either from authoritarian regimes refusing to provide…

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