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USTR Issues Report on the WTO Appellate Body

February 11, 2020

Washington, DC – The United States Trade Representative is issuing a Report on the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization.  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. 

“For more than 20 years, successive Administrations and the U.S. Congress have voiced significant concerns that the Appellate Body has failed to function according to the rules agreed by the United States and other WTO Members,” Ambassador Robert Lighthizer said.  “Unfortunately, the conduct of the Appellate Body has converted the WTO from a forum for discussion and negotiation into a forum for litigation.  President Trump is committed to a trade agenda that benefits all Americans, and a reassessment of the WTO and its role is a key part of that agenda.”

To read the report, click here.