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.
Trade and Investment
On May 5, 2020, the European Commission (Commission) announced that 23 of the 27 member states of the European Union (EU) signed the Agreement for the Termination of Bilateral Investment Treaties [("BITs")] between the Member States of the European Union (the Treaty). If the
Since 2015, Brazil has concluded more than a dozen Cooperation and Facilitation Investment Agreements (CFIAs), in a radical departure from Brazil's earlier policy to remain out of the network of investment treaties. These CFIAs include a novel system, encompassing mechanisms for preventing and settling disputes, which differs strikingly from traditional investor-state arbitration available under most bilateral investment treaties.
Preventing or managing a global pandemic such as COVID-19 requires states to strictly comply with the World Health Organization's International Health Regulations 2005 (IHRs). However, like many multilateral environment agreements, the IHRs lack a strong dispute resolution mechanism to enhance state compliance. To bridge that gap, states have incorporated several environmental conventions into free trade agreements (FTAs) over the past fifteen years.