On February 11, 2020, the US Trade Representative announced that it is issuing a Report on the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization. USTR states that this Report is the first comprehensive study of the Appellate Body’s record and it provides an in-depth assessment of the “Appellate Body’s failure to comply with WTO rules and interpret WTO agreements as written.”
As detailed in this Report, the Appellate Body has strayed far from the limited role that WTO Members assigned to it. Through persistent overreaching, the Appellate Body has increased its own power, at the expense of the authority of the United States and other WTO Members. The Report demonstrates the Appellate Body’s persistent failure to follow basic WTO rules and highlights several examples of how the Appellate Body has altered WTO Members’ rights and obligations through erroneous interpretations of WTO agreements. These actions have harmed the United States and its citizens, workers and businesses and have undermined the effectiveness of the WTO dispute settlement system.