Originally published as
“Alternative to the alternative: Turkey and EU use arbitration for WTO appeals”
and previously as one section in
“Arbitration — the stop-gap when WTO appeals are unavailable”
By Peter Ungphakorn
POSTED AUGUST 30, 2022 | UPDATED SEPTEMBER 26, 2022
Türkiye told World Trade Organization members on August 29, 2022 that it would comply with dispute rulings that said it was violating WTO agreements by giving preferences to locally-produced pharmaceutical products, even though the rulings have not been formally adopted.
So far, the case is unique among WTO legal disputes. It is the first use of appeal-by-arbitration as a route to a second legal opinion on a ruling, while the WTO Appellate Body cannot function.
And because at the time arbitration was the only route open to Türkiye to appeal the case, neither the first-stage “panel” ruling, nor the findings in the appeal, have been formally adopted by the WTO’s membership.
This raises questions about the status of the rulings in WTO law. When a ruling has been formally adopted, governments (and others involved in trade) can assess with a degree of confidence whether similar policies or measures comply with WTO agreements.
When the membership has not adopted a ruling, that confidence is weakened, although some legal experts suggest the difference is small. The US treats non-adoption as significant without explaining why.Continue reading “Türkiye and EU: appeal-by-arbitration cases leave questions about WTO law”