Transparency doesn’t just mean making information available. It means making it accessible and understandable
Rabbit hole noun
A complexly bizarre or difficult state or situation conceived of as a hole into which one falls or descends — I wanted to show this woman descending into the rabbit hole: this loss of self, becoming a servant to her job and to the work — Jessica Chastain
Especially : One in which the pursuit of something (such as an answer or solution) leads to other questions, problems, or pursuits — While trying to find the picture again on Google, I fell down the Cosmo rabbit hole, scrolling through a gallery of swimwear, then through “How to Be Sexier-Instantly” and then through all 23 slides of “Sexy Ideas for Long Hair.” — Edith Zimmerman
By Peter Ungphakorn POSTED JUNE 8, 2021 | UPDATED JUNE 9, 2021
This is a cautionary tale about just how difficult it is to crack the secret codes of trade agreements. We can ask a simple question: how will the agreement change trade in a particular product. To reach the answer we often have to venture out into a wonderland of obscure paths and hidden traps.
A group of WTO members have agreed on an alternative way to get a second legal opinion
By Peter Ungphakorn POSTED AUGUST 4, 2020 | UPDATED FEBRUARY 13, 2020
On August 3, 2020, a group of 50 World Trade Organization members — 30% of the membership — announced that an alternative arrangement was up and running, as a means of getting round a blockage preventing formal appeals in WTO dispute settlement.
Developed gradually since early 2019, the system would retain countries’ ability to get a second opinion after a first-stage “panel” ruling, but unlike a formal appeal, the outcome would not be part of official WTO law.
A casual glance at the headlines might have misled us into thinking the World Trade Organization (WTO) would grind to a halt at the end 2019, that the blame lay entirely with US President Donald Trump, and that the WTO’s demise would bring anarchy to world trade.
Only the last of those three assertions is possibly correct; and only if the WTO really does die — which it certainly won’t, not in the near future.
This is an attempt at an explanation. It shows that even WTO dispute settlement could well survive, but in a less powerful form. Other important work in the WTO will continue, and therefore so will the WTO itself.
But be warned: simple explanations of complex issues cannot tell the whole story. And even this attempt is not that simple. Sorry.
The doom-mongers had already written off the WTO. From December no new appeals in WTO disputes would be possible and the whole organisation would grind to a halt, they claimed. They were wrong.
The problem is with the appeals stage of WTO legal disputes. Some countries are finding ways to work around that. WTO disputes cannot be the same without a properly functioning Appellate Body, but they can continue even if the system is weaker.
As for the rest of the WTO’s work, it does not rely on dispute settlement. True, member countries participate in those functions more confidently if they know the disputes system is working well, but it will still take years before they lose confidence so badly that they give up on the WTO altogether.
People’s views of geographical indications range from cherishing them as precious cultural heritage and commercial property, to annoyance and scorn. They are complicated. Every argument has a counter-argument
By Peter Ungphakorn POSTED MAY 5, 2018 | FIRST PUBLISHED ON UK TRADE FORUM APRIL 3, 2018 | UPDATED JANUARY 10, 2021