WTO Dispute Settlement: Is There a Future for the Appellate Body?

Friday, October 9, 2020

WTO Dispute Settlement: Is There a Future for the Appellate Body?

For 25 years, the World Trade Organization’s Appellate Body served as a “last resort” for the WTO’s 164 member countries to seek binding resolutions to trade disputes. The United States continues to block the appointment of new members to the Appellate Body because of concerns about overreach. As a result, the Appellate Body ceased to function in December 2019 when the terms of two of its remaining three members expired, leaving it unable to hear appeals. Richard Steinberg and Kathleen Claussen discuss the U.S. position, how it differs from the perspectives of other member countries, the risk the Appellate Body collapse poses to the international trading system, proposals for reform of the system, and possible ways to restore binding dispute settlement either temporarily or more permanently.

This webinar is part of a six-session series on “International Trade: Measuring and Managing Risk and Uncertainty,” hosted by the Yeutter Institute with support from the CME Group Foundation.

Kathleen Claussen

Kathleen Claussen is Associate Professor at the University of Miami School of Law where she writes about international business (trade and investment) and dispute settlement procedure.  Prior to joining the Miami Law faculty in 2017, Prof. Claussen was Associate General Counsel at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative in the Executive Office of the President where she represented the United States in trade disputes and served as a legal advisor in trade negotiations.  Earlier in her career, she served as Legal Counsel at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.  Prof. Claussen received her law degree from the Yale Law School.

Richard Steinberg

Richard H. Steinberg is the Jonathan D. Varat Professor of Law & Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Los Angeles; Counsellor to the American Society of International Law; a Member of the United States Trade Representative’s Trade and Environment Policy Advisory Committee; Chair of the International Trade Law Committee of the American Branch of the International Law Association; and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. During the Uruguay Round, Professor Steinberg worked as a lawyer and negotiator in the Office of the United States Trade Representative, with a portfolio that included agriculture, dispute settlement, and creation of the World Trade Organization.

He holds a B.A. degree from Yale, and J.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Stanford.

Matthew Schaefer

Matthew Schaefer is the Veronica Haggart and Charles Work Professor of International Trade Law at the University of Nebraska College of Law where he teaches courses in international trade law, international business transactions, international law and foreign relations law.  He formerly worked as an international trade consultant to the National Governors’ Association and Western Governors’ Association and served as a director in the International Economic Affairs Office of the National Security Council (White House).  He is a co-author of International Business Transactions: A Problem-Oriented Coursebook (West Publishing, 13th ed. 2019) and responsible for many of the trade law chapters in the book dealing with WTO, USMCA, GSP, AGOA, US customs law, sanctions and export controls.  Professor Schaefer has published multiple articles in the Journal of International Economic Law and his most recent project focuses on regulation and trade of gene-edited crops and food.