Disruptive Construction or Constructive Destruction? Reflections on the Appellate Body Crisis
Chang-fa Lo, Jinji Nakagawa, and Tsai-yu Lin eds., The Appellate Body of the WTO and Its Reform, Springer 2019, pp. 215-238.Doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-0255-2_13.
25 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2019 Last revised: 21 Jan 2020
Date Written: March 1, 2019
Over the past few months, the blockage of the Appellate Body appointment process by the United State (hereinafter U.S.) has emerged as the biggest existential threat to the World Trade Organization (hereinafter WTO). In response to the criticisms from other WTO Members, the U.S. justified its action as a way to raise people’s attention on long-standing problems in the Appellate Body (hereinafter AB). Are the U.S. criticisms valid? Even if assuming that the U.S. allegations are correct, is the specific approach that the U.S. has taken legitimate? Drawing from both the treaty text and jurisprudence of WTO law, this Chapter argues that the U.S. criticisms, especially those concerning the systemic issues in WTO dispute settlement, are deeply flawed. Moreover, the paper also argues that, regardless of the validity of the substantive claims of the U.S., the U.S. has chosen the wrong approach by holding hostage the entire AB appointment process. The paper concludes with practical suggestions on how to overcome the AB crisis and restore its functions.
Keywords: WTO, Appellate Body, Dispute Settlement, Stare Decisis, Precedent, Common Law, Civil Law
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