Why the WTO Appellate Body Crisis Matters to the Caribbean

Dr. Jan Yves Remy and Alicia Nicholls, SRC

The Appellate Body (AB) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) – the final court charged with hearing appeals on points of law at the WTO – faces an existential crisis. On 10 December  2019, the terms of two of its remaining three members – the quorum needed to adjudicate an appeal – will expire. Their positions will not be filled if the current United States (US) blockage of appointments continues. This means that new appeals of panel decisions will not be heard after that date.  

Given Caribbean countries’ limited and ‘checkered’ experience with the WTO dispute settlement (DS) system, it is tempting for the region to be blasé about the current impasse. However, as has been chronicled elsewhere, it is the smallest WTO Members that most need a functioning legal DS system to safeguard their interests when the powerful break the rules.

In this latest SRC Trading Thoughts, we examine the possible “doomsday” scenario impending at the WTO and explain why Caribbean countries should be concerned by what portends if the AB no longer exists at the WTO.

Read the full article here.

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