2022/12/15 Seminar on WTO legal practice  WTO國際法律實務論壇

On December 15, the Seminar on WTO Legal Practice was held at NTU College of Law. In the seminar, Director Niall Meagher, the Executive Director of the Asian Centre on WTO Law (ACWL), and Ambassador Chang-fa Lo, the Permanent Representative of Taiwan to the World Trade Organization, each shared their practical experience in the WTO legal fields. The seminar was hosted by Professor Yueh-Ping (Alex) Yang, the Director of the Asian Center for WTO law & International Health Law and Policy (ACWH).

In the first session, Director Meagher gave a speech on the topic “WTO Dispute Settlement: Problems and Prospect.” He shared the basic features and principles of dispute settlement as well as the challenges of the Appellate Body (AB). He firstly noted that the move to establish a robust dispute settlement system has become more crucial as trade barriers evolved from tariffs to other non-tariff trade barriers. Since the dispute settlement system essentially requires WTO Members to concede their sovereignty, developing a system that all parties may agree on is essential. However, currently, the U.S. has several concerns, especially over the judicial activism in the AB, and has thus paralyzed the system by vetoing the nomination of AB members. He then introduced the Multi-Party Interim Appeal Arbitration Arrangement (MPIA), a temporary solution to the AB crisis. In his concluding remark, he offered his insights and reflections on the potential initiatives raised by the U.S. for reforming the dispute settlement system. In the Q&A session, Professor Pei-kan Yang raised a question on whether making the AB an ad hoc body instead of a standing one and giving Members the power to select AB members may be the solution. Director Meagher replied that it was an interesting idea, but he also raised concerns over the inconsistency of legal interpretation and the quality of ad hoc AB members.

In the second session, Ambassador Lo delivered a speech on the topic “Contemporary WTO Priority Issues and Taiwan’s Role.” He firstly provided the unresolved issues of the 12th Ministerial Conference (MC) that will be discussed in the 13th MC. These topics include the “second wave” of fishery subsidies negotiation, the extension of the MC12 TRIPS Waiver Decision, and the WTO reform. He next mentioned the traditional and new issues of food safety and agriculture. Furthermore, he brought up the practice and challenge of negotiating Joint Statement Initiatives (JSI). Finally, he reflected on the contemporary issues in WTO, including digital trade, climate change, and sustainability. In his final remark, Ambassador Lo pointed out that the WTO needs to be made more “relevant” as a “living organization.” In the Q&A session, Professor Pei-kan Yang asked how to motivate new generations to develop an interest in international trade laws. Ambassador Lo replied by introducing WTO’s Young Professionals Programme” which seeks to give an opportunity to rising stars in this field.


Through today’s seminar, the participants had a deeper understanding of the WTO legal practice. Hopefully, it would encourage young talents to embark on their own journey in the field of international trade laws.


今日(1215)於臺灣大學法律學院舉行《WTO國際法律實務論壇》,並邀請WTO法律諮詢中心(Advisory Centre on WTO Law)執行長Niall Meagher及台灣常駐世界貿易組織代表團常任代表羅大使昌發分別就WTO國際法律實務議題進行演講,並由亞洲WTO暨國際衛生法與政策研究中心主任楊副教授岳平主持。


第一部分由執行長Niall Meagher以「WTO爭端解決:問題與展望」為題目,分享WTO爭端解決機制的特色及基本原則,以及近年上訴機構所遭遇的困境。演講中,執行長提到隨著貿易障礙類型的變化,特別是由關稅轉向其他非關稅貿易障礙時,爭端解決機制的重要性越趨增加,建立一套有拘束力的爭端解決機制變得十分關鍵,但爭議及挑戰也隨之而來。由於在現行爭端解決機制下,各國對其主權有所讓步,因此發展出能取得會員共識的機制勢在必行。然而,美國對於現行制度仍有幾項擔憂,特別是上訴機構的司法積極主義,因此美國藉由否決權之行使阻止任命新上訴機構成員,使上訴機構因此停擺。執行長進一步介紹了作為上訴機構危機的暫時解方「臨時上訴仲裁多邊協議」(multi-party interim arbitration, MPIA)的架構及運作。在結語中,執行長亦針對現行由美國主導提案的新爭端解決機制提出了見解及反思。在與談階段,政大楊教授培侃提出了讓上訴機構非常設化,以及給予當事會員選擇上訴機構成員可能性之問題,執行長認為是個有趣的觀點,不過執行長同時也提出了上訴決定品質以及上訴機構成員候選人資格之疑慮。


論壇的第二部分則由羅大使昌發以「WTO當前議題及我國角色」為題進行演講。羅大使首先以WTO第十二屆部長會議中所討論的重要議題作為開場,討論主軸包含漁業補貼第二波談判、TRIPS部長會議決議的擴大適用以及WTO的改革,這些主題也將在第十三屆部長會議延續討論。羅大使接續提及了農業談判,指出當前談判不僅只於傳統議題的討論,更包括糧食危機等新興議題。此外羅大使並分享了複邊貿易談判的實務現況以及其所面臨的挑戰。最後,羅大使介紹了WTO的當前議題,包括數位貿易、氣候變遷及永續發展等。演講結束前,羅大使以WTO必須要彰顯其存在價值並致力於成為「活的WTO」(Living Organization)為今日的分享做出結語。在與談階段,楊教授培侃提問了如何鼓勵學生投入國際經貿法的學習及研究,以及未來可能的出路。羅大使昌發則分享了WTO的青年學者計畫,並表示這個計畫將會給予想投入國際經貿的年輕學子發光的機會。