Once called the crown’s jewel, the dispute settlement system of the WTO is facing a major threat. The standing Appellate Body (AB), within the WTO Dispute Settlement Body (DSB), is not functioning normally—or even at all, as the United States has blocked all appointments of new AB members. As a result, cases can no longer be appealed, and this may leave decisions by the panels—which adjudicate the cases in the first instance—in legal limbo.
Unprecedented Pandemic and Splintered Global Response
With 182 countries reporting 6,663,304 confirmed cases with 392,802 deaths (as of Jun. 6, 2020) and activating various national emergency measures, the outbreak of novel coronavirus in 2020 stands to be recorded as the worst global health disaster in recent history.