Alan Yanovich Quoted by Law360 on Canadian Plan to Expedite WTO Dispute Settlement

For its article “Canada Takes Novel Approach To Ease WTO Dispute Logjam,” Law360 has quoted Akin Gump international trade senior counsel Alan Yanovich on a series of documents circulated by the Canadian delegation at the WTO Dispute Settlement Body proposing a series of small-scale steps that countries can take in litigating disputes to ensure the process will run more smoothly.

Law360 reports that, as a permanent change to the Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU) would require consensus among all members, Canada has offered its proposal on a voluntary, ad hoc basis.

Yanovich, who spent 12 years at the WTO Appellate Body, said that an unwelcoming reception from the WTO’s major economies could thwart Canada’s efforts before they gain traction. “In an ideal scenario, you would see the big players signing onto these practices or the most frequent users, and there we could really see how these practices would be implemented. My understanding is that for the moment you don't really have the big players signing on and they probably have good reasons not to do so. But that may limit the impact,” he said.

He added that, should Canada’s proposal gain steam, it would not come at the expense of larger reforms to the DSU and may even prompt a more robust negotiating effort by members: “I think the fact that a small group of countries can agree to changes and then implement those changes will provide us with a better basis to decide on what should be adjusted in the DSU. It's an approach that under the circumstances provides a quicker outcome than DSU reform negotiations where we don't see any immediate outcome on the horizon.”