Introduction to Symposium on WTO Reform - Views from the Global South


September 1, 2019

This week, we offer an exciting treat to followers of the Afronomicslaw Blog! We are bringing the discussions on reform at the World Trade Organization (WTO) to you, from a unique “Global South” perspective. As WTO Members struggle to find solutions to the impasse in the selection process for appointing Appellate Body Members, and as concerns abound about the ability of the WTO to successfully navigate new issues confronting the multilateral trading system, I approached the editors of Afronomicslaw with the idea of dedicating a symposium to views of developing countries on the topic of WTO reform.  Thankfully, they were receptive, and I am proud to count among this week’s contributors: a former Appellate Body Member, WTO law academics, and practitioners hailing from Africa, India and the Caribbean.

First, we feature the views of Justice David Unterhalter, former Appellate Body Member from South Africa, who, while extolling the virtues of multilateralism, opines on how the WTO’s dispute settlement mechanism can be improved.

Next, Professor Makane Moïse Mbengue of the University of Geneva’s Faculty of Law offers African states some tangible suggestions on how to tackle issues of investment facilitation, climate change and the Appellate Body reform at the WTO.

We then go to India, where Dr. James Nedumpara, Executive Director of the Centre for International Trade and Economic Laws (CITEL), analyzes a temporary solution being proposed by the European Union and Canada to the problem having no Appellate Body by December 2019: using arbitration procedures provided for under Article 25 of the Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU) to conduct appellate review.

Lastly, I, Dr. Jan Yves Remy add my own contribution to the discussion.  Having worked within the WTO dispute settlement system (as a Legal Officer at the Appellate Body Secretariat and at a Geneva-based law firm) and now serving as a deputy director at a trade law and policy institute in Barbados, I see value in my region adding its voice to the ongoing proposals for dispute settlement reform.

I am grateful to the editors of Afronomicslaw for permitting this special edition of the Blog.  On behalf of the other contributors, happy reading!

Best wishes,

Dr. Jan Yves Remy. Deputy Director, Shridath Ramphal Centre for International Trade Law, Policy and Services, Cave Hill Campus, University of the West Indies, Barbados


Jan Yves Remy: Introduction to the Symposium on WTO Reform – Views from the Global South

Justice David UnterhalterMy Views on WTO Reform

Makane Moïse MbengueAn African Response to WTO Reform Proposals

James J NedumparaDoes Article 25 Arbitration Need Serious Consideration?

Jan Yves RemyThe Missing Voice of Caribbean States in the Ongoing Debate on WTO Dispute Settlement Reform