The Jurisprudence of the World Trade Organization in 2015

Hahn, Michael Johannes; Diaz, Nathalie; Liechti, Rachel; Payosova, Tetyana; Schläpfer, Andrea (2016). The Jurisprudence of the World Trade Organization in 2015. Swiss Review of International and European Law, 26(2), pp. 327-357. Schulthess

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A comprehensive overview of the jurisprudence of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2015 would clearly exceed the space the editors of this journal have kindly reserved for this annual effort: in 2015, eleven Appellate Body reports and nine panel reports were circulated. In addition, arbitrators issued three decisions as to the reasonable period of time for compliance under Article 21.3(c) of the Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes (DSU) and issued two decisions regarding suspension of concessions under Article 22.6 DSU. These numbers are indicative of the ongoing interest of the membership in the WTO’s dispute settlement mechanism, which, regrettably, is not matched by the use of the WTO as negotiating forum.
Thus, we do not aim to paint a comprehensive picture of what has been noteworthy in 2015 in the world of WTO dispute settlement. Rather, we submit a (highly subjective) selection of what we consider particularly interesting reports of both the Appellate Body and the panels. This year, we present at some length three Appellate Body reports, dealing, inter alia, with the relationship between free trade agreements (FTAs) and WTO law, the relevance of the general law on treaties for the interpretation of WTO law (Peru – Agricultural Products) and the thorny issue of interpreting Article 2.1 and 2.2 of the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) raised in the Article 21.5 DSU procedures in the context of two seminal TBT disputes (US – Tuna II and US – COOL). The two panel reports selected deal with the law of the GATS and the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures: both explore particularly relevant issues, such as the conditions for the use of the prudential exception in GATS and the conditions, under which sanitary and phytosanitary measures can be used as precaution against what seems, on the basis of available pertinent information a threat to life or health of humans, flora and fauna.
The Appellate Body and panel reports we did not report in detail deal with core issues of WTO law, including anti-dumping law, safeguard measures, quantitative restrictions, discrimination under GATT, the role of standards in international trade, agricultural trade and other legal issues that would merit further discussion. A case in point is India – Agricultural Products; there, the Appellate Body dealt for the first time with Article 6 of the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS). This provision contains a concretization of the principle of proportionality: Members undertake to adapt the measures they take against threats emanating from imported agricultural goods to the conditions prevailing in the pertinent region. In the following, we start with the introduction to the Appellate Body’s efforts to bring closure to a dispute between two trading partners from Latin

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


02 Faculty of Law > Department of Economic Law > Institute of European and International Economic Law
02 Faculty of Law > Department of Economic Law > World Trade Institute
10 Strategic Research Centers > World Trade Institute

UniBE Contributor:

Hahn, Michael Johannes, Liechti, Rachel, Payosova, Tetyana, Schläpfer, Andrea


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 340 Law
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 380 Commerce, communications & transportation








Rachel Liechti-Mc Kee

Date Deposited:

29 Sep 2016 11:47

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:58




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