Stephen Kho Quoted by POLITICO on Fixing WTO Dispute Settlement System
Akin Gump international trade partner Stephen Kho was quoted by POLITICO for its article “How to Fix WTO Dispute Settlement, Part One,” concerning ways in which the United States might approach addressing the problems it has with the system that the World Trade Organization uses to settle disputes between members.
Kho, who joined Akin Gump from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, where, among other responsibilities, he worked on developing dispute and advocacy positions relative to China’s WTO obligations, joined other speakers on the topic at an Asia Society Policy Institute event on February 7.
There, he said that one option would be to give WTO members the choice of only adopting WTO panel reports in part in those cases where both disputants agree the Appellate Body has ruled on an issue outside the bounds of the case. Noting there might be few cases where both sides concur on this point, he said that it would be helpful to know the option is there.
Kho also said that the Appellate Body—the WTO’s forum to hear appeals from reports issued by panels in disputes brought by WTO members— could be required to issue interim rulings in the same way that dispute settlement panels are. He said that this would alert both disputants of the pending ruling and give them a final chance to try to correct errors they see.
He also noted that the WTO Secretariat needs to improve its policing of the Appellate Body by encouraging it not to rule on issues where there is no applicable WTO law.