How should WTO Members react to their WTO governance crises?
AbstractPublished online: 24 May 2019Since 2017, the United States (US) and other World Trade Organization (WTO) members have been violating their legal duties and democratic mandates given by national parliaments to maintain the WTO Appellate Body (AB) as legally prescribed in Article 17 of the WTO Dispute Understanding (DSU). Article 17 defines the AB as being ‘composed of seven persons’, with vacancies being ‘filled as they arise’. Sections 2 and 3 explain why none of the reasons offered by the US for its blocking of the (re)appointment of AB candidates – on grounds unrelated to the personal qualifications of the candidates – can justify the illegal disruptions of the WTO legal and dispute settlement system. EU trade diplomats must exercise leadership using the existing legal powers and duties of the WTO Ministerial Conference and General Council under Article IX WTO – if necessary, based on ‘a majority of the votes cast’ – to complete the WTO selection procedures for filling AB vacancies and protect the AB as legally defined in Article 17 DSU. Sections 4 and 5 explain why the competition, social policy, and rule-of-law principles underlying European ‘ordo-liberalism’ offer coherent strategies for overcoming the WTO governance crises by limiting hegemonic abuses of both US neo-liberalism and Chinese state-capitalism