Committee 3: WTO Appellate Review Rules and Procedures

To provide the Applicants with the best possible and most relevant experience, the Model WTO has decided this year’s topic to be the Reform of the WTO as this topic has become more relevant in recent months.

Committee 3: 

WTO Appellate Review Rules and Procedures

The Appellate Body (AB) is a central organ of the WTO’s dispute settlement system. It is a standing body of 7 judges that hears the appeals issued by the panels held for WTO members in dispute. It can uphold, modify or reverse the legal findings of a panel, and its decisions must be accepted by the disputing parties.

However, the AB has been argued to have over-stepped its authority. As many of the WTO agreements are vague or incomplete, the AB is increasingly asked to interpret these ambiguous rules in order to decide on rulings for specific cases. Additionally, the AB has been criticised for interpreting domestic laws of WTO members. Both of these activities are argued to lie outside of the scope of the roles and responsibilities of the AB.

Most critical is the US’ disapproval of the AB. It has led to the US blocking all appointments of new AB members. As the terms of AB judges expire, if the US continues blocking every new appointment, the AB will be dysfunctional by the end of 2019.
Thus, it is crucial to rethink the competencies and responsibilities of the AB to meet the demands of WTO members. The aim of the committee on WTO Appellate Review Rules and Procedures will be to address the concerns of WTO members regarding the AB, to then come up with revised rulings defining the AB’s role.

Author of the Committees 2019:
Cara Stromeyer (cara.stromeyer@model-wto.org
)
Model WTO Head of Simulation Design