How WTO Dispute Settlement Succumbed to the Trump Administration

30 Pages Posted: 17 Dec 2019

See all articles by Steve Charnovitz

Steve Charnovitz

George Washington University - Law School

Date Written: December 17, 2019


The death of the WTO Appellate Body strikes a punishing blow to the WTO and stands as a signal accomplishment of the Trump Administration. Although the absence of an Appellate Body will not necessarily bring down the entire WTO dispute system, such an outcome may occur. This paper chronicles the key moments in the US government’s attack on WTO dispute settlement and the Appellate Body since 2016 by republishing the author's Blog posts over the past four years about the Appellate Body. One of the developments covered is the author’s efforts in 2017 to promote a rescue plan to stave off the attacks of the Trump Administration. The paper shows how the author's attempt to rescue the Appellate Body was spurned by the Appellate Body.

Keywords: International trade law, appellate courts, international law, judicial selection, WTO dispute settlement, WTO appellate body, USTR, Dispute Settlement Understanding, treaty interpretation, legal precedent. political myth, legal enforceability, immunity, legalization, judicial independence

JEL Classification: F13

Suggested Citation

Charnovitz, Steve, How WTO Dispute Settlement Succumbed to the Trump Administration (December 17, 2019). GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2019-73, GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2019-73, Available at SSRN: or

Steve Charnovitz (Contact Author)

George Washington University - Law School ( email )

2000 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20052
United States

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