2014-15 WTO Moot Court

Introduction of the 13th ELSA Moot Court Competition on WTO Law

ELSA Moot Court Competition is a simulated hearing of the WTO dispute settlement system held by the European Law Students’ Association annually. Participants from all over the world are separated into several regional rounds, and the best 20 teams out of these regional rounds will qualify for the Final Oral Round which takes place at the WTO Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. This year, the Asia-Pacific regional round was held in Manila, the Philippines, from February 27th to March 3rd. The Final Oral Round was held from June 2nd to June 7th in Geneva, Switzerland.

The fictitious case of this year involves the following issues:

(1)   Under GATT Art. I:1, the issue is whether the measure confers advantages on animal products from countries with less than 0.15 hectares of arable land per capita, by exempting them from the measure’s requirements, which are not extended immediately and unconditionally to like products from all Members.

(2)   Under GATT Art.III:4, the key issue is whether the animal products at issue are like. If so, whether the measure accords less favorable treatment, which modifies the condition of competition.

(3)   Issues under GATT Art.XX are whether the ARRA can be justified by any of the subparagraphs and whether such justification is not applied in an arbitrary or unjustifiable manner under the Chapeau.

(4)   The scope of related-PPM that decides the purview of TBT Agreement, and whether the distinctions drawn on the basis of animal welfare and arable land per capita are legitimate under TBT Art. 2.1

(4)   The interpretation of an international standard within the TBT Art. 2.4, and under what circumstances is a Member allowed to not use the international standard as its measure’s basis.       

(5)   The interpretation of a non-governmental body under TBT Arts.3.1, 3.4, and 3.4, and under which circumstances it would fall within the scope of the TBT.

In this year’s Asia-Pacific regional round, we placed 3rd among 21 teams and secured the opportunity to participate in the Final Oral Round. Unfortunately, we failed to make it into the quarterfinals in the Final Oral Round. However, we have gained abundant knowledge regarding the most relevant issues of this year’s competition: through reading, discussing and analyzing the materials that we found relevant and helpful to the case at hands. Furthermore, we are also now deeply aware of the difficulty and importance of communicating and persuading the Panelists in a short and limited period of time. This experience is exceptionally valuable for a law student who is on his/her way to truly become a professional.