The Annual WTO Conference was originally established in 2000 through a partnership between the British Institute of International and Comparative Law (BIICL) and the Institute of International Economic Law (IIEL) at the Georgetown University Law Center, and is currently organized jointly by BIICL, IIEL, and the Society of International Economic Law (SIEL). As originally established by University Professor John H. Jackson of Georgetown, and Professor Sir Francis Jacobs, KCMG, QC, a Trustee of BIICL, the Annual WTO Conference has a longstanding affiliation with the Journal of International Economic Law, published by the Oxford University Press. The Annual WTO Conference is one of the most important and prestigious conferences addressing developments in international trade law, pursuing cutting-edge issues of interest to academics and practitioners alike.
The Annual WTO Conference has traditionally selected speakers by invitation only; this year, however, the organizers have decided to conduct a call for papers aimed at opening opportunities for younger scholars to present their research and analysis at the conference. The organizers will consider proposals, in the form of an abstract or a completed short paper, submitted on or before 28 February 2015, for inclusion on the panels being organized on the following six topics:
- The Revival of Export Controls and Trade Sanctions:
The Russia-Ukraine Conflict and Beyond
The panel will address the WTO implications (security exceptions in GATT/GATS etc.) of: sanctions imposed on Russia (principally by US, EU) re the invasion of Ukraine; retaliatory measures imposed by Russia; Russian measures allegedly aimed at coercion of former Soviet satellites to join Eurasian Economic Union (mostly in the form of SPS and TBT type measures); and the broader implications of revival of export controls and trade sanctions for practicing lawyers and multinationals.
- WTO Accession Protocols and Other Non-Treaty WTO Instruments or Texts:
Legal Status and Interpretation in WTO Dispute Settlement
In light of recent cases involving China, especially the recent Rare Earths AB report, the panel will address the relationship between accession protocols and other WTO agreements; the WTO-plus controversy; the status of accession protocols under the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties; the process of accession to membership in the WTO and different steps of legal relevance; the impact of WTO committee decisions or Secretariat notes, and ministerial declarations and statements.
- Restoring the Negotiating Function of the WTO:
Are there Alternatives to the Single-Speed, Single Undertaking Approach?
The panel will address issues such as Trade Facilitation Agreement experience (and treatment of LDCs there); current treatment of environmental goods negotiations within the WTO; the TISA negotiations process and ITA expansion; plurilaterals and new ways to define “consensus” or start negotiations (e.g. on services, agriculture) within or outside the WTO with a sub-group of members only; legal effects of different ways of locking in negotiation results; and resort to the amendment or interpretative powers within the WTO Agreement.
- Measures Pursuing Multiple Policy Objectives:
The Scope of Application and Overlapping Disciplines in GATT-TBT-SPS After Seals
The panel will consider issues raised by the AB report in Seals, including: its interpretation of national treatment and MFN in the GATT v. the TBT Agreement; the scope of the application of the TBT Agreement; how to address measures with multiple objectives under GATT/TBT/SPS, how to draw the line between the TBT Agreement and the SPS Agreement; and the analysis of measures with multiple objectives under GATT Article XX and its chapeau.
- The “Plain Packaging” Public Health Strategy:
Tobacco Products, Alcohol, Sugary Products: What Role (If Any) For the WTO?
The panel will address the pending WTO case, the broader issue of the “plain packaging” policy approach to “unhealthy products” and the legal issues this raises; the public health concerns it addresses/does not address; and related questions under WTO law, domestic constitutional and intellectual property law, BITs, etc.
- Recent Developments in WTO Dispute Settlement Procedure & Jurisprudence
The panel will address emerging issues such as: (1) the increasing use of settlement agreements under which possible WTO violations are permitted to continue but are compensated for (e.g., US – Cotton; US – Clove Cigarettes); (2) the use of waivers in FTAs to rights under the WTO Agreements, including the right to invoke WTO dispute settlement (see, e.g., Peru – Agricultural Products); (3) the role of the DSB; (4) the definition of a measure; and other procedural issues that may have arisen in last year. This panel may also discuss substantive law developments in WTO cases of the past year; important new AB reports such as US – Carbon Steel (India), and US – CVD (China) (DS 437); the AB report in US – CVD/AD (China) (DS 449) regarding the US GPX legislation; the prospects regarding US treatment of China as an NME after December 2016 and the potential impact on AD/CVD cases; an update on the definition of a “public body”; and the use of out-of-country benchmarks.
The full document is here.