Introduction of the 16th 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 Bangkok, Thailand, from April 5th to April 9th. The Final Oral Round was held from June 6th to June 11th in Geneva, Switzerland.

The 2017-2018 NTU team included four team members, Angelique Saw, Zhen-Yi Wu, Chi-Hang Lee, and Peng-Ying Chen, and two student coaches, Ning Hsu, and Yu-Ting Yu. Professors Tsai-Yu Lin and Yueh-Ping (Alex) Yang from the Asian Center for WTO & International Health Law and Policy served as faculty advisors.

The fictitious case of this year involves the following issues:

(1)   Under TBT Art. 2.1 and GATT Art. III:4, the issues are whether the products at issue are like, and whether the measure treats imported products less favourably than domestic products, as it differentiates between handloom and powerloom cotton fabrics and restricts one but not the other.
(2)   Under TBT Art. 2.2, the key issue is whether a qualified alternative exists, that is, whether the measure is more trade restrictive than necessary.
(3)   Under TBT Art. 2.4, the key issue is whether an international document not based on consensus could be considered as an international standard. 
(4)   Under GATT Arts. II:1(a), (b) and II:2(a), the issue concerns the interpretation of internal tax and whether the charge is imposed consistently with GATT Art. III:2, which leads to the discussion of whether imported products are taxed in excess of domestic products, and whether the dissimilarities in taxation, if any, is to protect domestic production. 
(5)   Under GATT Art. XX, the issue is whether any inconsistencies with GATT can be justified by any of the subparagraphs and whether such justification is not applied in an arbitrary or unjustifiable manner under the Chapeau.
(6)   Under SCM Arts. 3.1(a), 27.4 and 27.5, the issue is whether SCM Art. 3.1(a) applies to this case when considering Art. 27.2, and whether the measure is a subsidy in fact contingent upon export performance. 

In this year’s Asia-Pacific regional round, we entered the quarterfinals. Although we did not make it into the Final Oral Round, we have still gained valuable experience through this journey. The detailed research and discussions during our preparation helped us obtain abundant knowledge of international trade law, which is a true asset for a law student who is on his/her way to truly become a professional.