This session offers an update on where the WTO dispute settlement system is now, and the perspectives of several key players and leading experts on its future.
The WTO Appellate Body was a miracle, and remains by far the most successful and commonly cross-cited dispute settlement mechanism (DSM) in international law. However, since December 2019, the Appellate Body is no longer able to consider new cases and some panel decisions are being ‘appealed into the void’.
In response, some WTO Members have implemented an arbitration appeal mechanism (the MPIA) – a form of crisis review system willing Members can use amongst themselves until the Appellate Body is reconvened. Not all have signed up to the MPIA however, and some are exploring less conventional routes, including avenues outside the WTO dispute settlement system. Still others question the suitability of the Appellate Body and reverse consensus as a concept, and suggest a return to the consensus driven dispute settlement of the GATT or a simplified panel process mechanism. The future of multilateral dispute settlement remains uncertain.
- What are the current risks for the WTO dispute settlement system, the multilateral trading system and the concept of international rule of law?
- Are there alternative solutions to the dismantling of the AB, within and outside the WTO system?
- Is there value in exploring other international dispute settlement systems, whether bilateral, regional or plurilateral, or should economies instead accept relying on unilateral or regional counter-measures and remedies?
- If no solution to the dispute settlement mechanism’s challenges is found, can the WTO trading system function without multilateral enforcement?
Note: Due to the number of speakers on this important panel, there will be no formal audience discussion component.
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This session will be simultaneously translated into French, Spanish and English (when needed) via the Interactio application, by entering the code GTW2020 (please use headphones). Open the application in your Web browser or download it for iOS Mobile App or for Android App.