WTO Dispute Settlement Body

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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 most radionuclides from the water. However, one radionuclide, tritium, cannot be technically eliminated. The treated water has been stored in tanks, with the site now holding over 1,000 such tanks. Both the Japanese government and TEPCO emphasize the necessity to reduce the number of these tanks for the safe decommissioning of the plant, which involves the site’s dismantling and decontamination. As a result, on 24th August 2023, the discharge of the ALPS treated water into the Pacific commenced. On that same day, China imposed an import ban on Japanese aquatic products citing concerns about potential radionuclide contamination. This decision was in line with the Agreement on the…

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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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The second chapter on a national security exception in WTO law: the panel report in Saudi Arabia – Protection of IPR

Introduction For many decades, national security exceptions had been dealt with only in rare instances, under the GATT 1947 regime as well as under the law of the WTO. The scope and design of the national security exception of Art. XXI GATT 1947 which served as a model for Art. XIV bis GATS and Art. 73 TRIPS has…

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