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NUMERO 22 - 22/07/2020

 Saving the Right to Appeal at the WTO: The EU and the Multi-Party Interim Appeal Arbitration Arrangement

Abstract [En]: Since May 2016, the United States of America has been vetoing the selection of the members of the WTO Appellate Body, alleging procedural and substantive criticisms on the activity of the Standing Tribunal.  Consequently, at midnight of 10 December 2019 the World Trade Court ceased to be operational, as only Zhao Hong, the Chinese judge, remained in office.  Faced with such an unprecedented WTO institutional crisis, the EU has chosen to be a major actor in the reform process of the multilateral appellate review mechanism. Beyond presenting important institutional proposals to amend Article 17 of the DSU,  which have been highly considered in the Walker Principles,  the EU launched a very interesting temporary solution to preserve appeals in Geneva, the Multi-Party Interim Appeal Arbitration Arrangement (MPIA),  which is based on the autonomous alternative dispute settlement means already referred to in Article 25 of the DSU. After the consideration of the features of this provision, the present article analyses how the EU suggested, developed, and progressively gained support for its MPIA project within the WTO community, illustrating the main aspects of the temporary appeals arbitration arrangement and taking into account the objections the US started to raise against some aspects of the important interim procedure.

 

Abstract [It]: Dal maggio 2016, gli Stati Uniti d’America hanno posto il veto all’elezione dei membri dell’Organo d’appello dell’OMC, sollevando critiche di natura procedurale e sostanziale rispetto all’attività di tale Tribunale permanente. Di conseguenza, alla mezzanotte del 10 dicembre 2019, l’Organo d’appello ha cessato di essere operativo, essendo rimasta in carica solo la giudice cinese Zhao Hong. Dinanzi a questa crisi istituzionale dell’OMC, l’Unione Europea ha scelto di essere un protagonista del processo di riforma del meccanismo d’appello del sistema multilaterale degli scambi. Oltre a introdurre importanti proposte per emendare l’art. 17 dell’Intesa sulla risoluzione delle controversie, che hanno trovato ampio risalto nei cd Walker Principles, l’Unione Europea ha presentato una soluzione interinale di grande interesse volta a preservare il diritto d’appello nel sistema ginevrino, il Multi-Party Interim Appeal Arbitration Arrangement (MPIA), basato sull’arbitrato previsto dall’art. 25 dell’Intesa sulla risoluzione delle controversie. Il presente lavoro analizza come l’Unione europea ha proposto, sviluppato e progressivamente acquisito l’interesse di un gruppo significativo di Membri dell’OMC sul suo progetto di arbitrato d’appello, esaminando gli aspetti principali dell’MPIA, e considerando le critiche che gli Stati Uniti hanno iniziato a rivolgere al meccanismo provvisorio di seconda istanza.

 

Table of contents: 1. Introduction. 2. Arbitration as an alternative means for dispute settlement within the multilateral trading system: Article 25 of the DSU. 3. Setting up the scene for a temporary appellate mechanism under Article 25 of the DSU. 4. The Multi-Party Interim Appeal Arbitration Arrangement: structure and principles. 5. The MPIA anticipation of innovations proposed in the WTO debate for the reform of the Appellate Body. 6. The MPIA pool of arbitrators, the principle of collegiality and the MPIA awards. 7. The WTO support structure for the MPIA pool of arbitrators and its funding on the WTO budget. 8. The suspension of panel proceedings and the role of third parties in the MPIA. 9. The first MPIA Agreed Procedures for Arbitration under Article 25 of the DSU. 10. Conclusions.



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