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WTO ADJUDICATION@ me.too: Are Global Public Goods like the World Trade Organization Owned by Governments or by Peoples and Citizens?

Ernst-Ulrich Petersmann

JEAIL Volume 13, Number 1 (2020), 21-52


As the most frequent and most successful user of the dispute settlement system of the WTO, the US has welcomed judicial clarifications by WTO dispute settlement bodies whenever they confirmed legal claims of the US. Yet, the Trump administration increasingly rejects judicial findings against the US trade restrictions as violating the WTO prohibitions of “add(ing) to or diminish(ing) the rights and obligations provided in the covered agreements.” This contribution criticizes the illegal US ‘blocking’ of the WTO Appellate Body and the underlying, hegemonic nationalism and protectionist interest group politics. It suggests that reasonable and responsible citizens benefitting from the WTO trading, legal and dispute settlement systems must resist illegal power politics, for instance, by supporting a WTO Adjudication@me.too “enlightenment campaign” pressuring democratic institutions and governments to protect rule of law and judicial remedies in international trade as prescribed by parliaments when they approved the WTO Agreement.

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