Paralyzing the WTO from the Inside: The Deadlock of the Appointment of Appellate Body Judges and its Repercussions

I Gusti Ngurah Parikesit Widiatedja, Mohammad Qadam Shah


The establishment of the dispute settlement procedure that consists of the Panel Report and the Appellate Body has been the most remarkable characteristic of the World Trade Organization. Beside the most productive international dispute resolution process, it has consistently adopted a rule-oriented procedure in enforcing the commitments made during trade negotiations. Since the last five years, however, the dispute settlement process has confronted an existential crisis. While conflict resolution through consultations and panels continues, the process under the Appellate Body is forced to stop. The United States has impaired the appointment of additional judges to this body, preventing it from obtaining the quorum required to hear appeals. By employing a normative research, this paper aims to identify and analyze the deadlock of the appointment of the Appellate Body judges and its repercussions for international trade governance, including Indonesia. This deadlock could jeopardy the viability of global trading system as there would be no proceeding to hear the dispute at the appellate level. Some cases that involved Indonesia would also be affected, particularly if the parties are willing to continue this process to the Appellate Body.



Deadlock; The Appellate Body; Dispute Settlement Mechanism; World Trade Organization

Full Text:




Bossche, Peter Van den and Werner Zdouc, (2017), The Law and Policy of the World Trade Organization, Cambridge University Press, 4th Edition,Massachusetts

Islam, M. Rafiqul, (2006), International Trade Law of the WTO, Oxford University Press, Oxford

Widiatedja, I Gusti Ngurah Parikesit, (2021) International Trade and Investment Law: The Case of Indonesia, Udayana University Press, Denpasar.

World Bank, (2016), The World Bank Group A to Z,Washington D.C.

Journal and other primarily sources

Fengying, Chen and Lipeng, Sun (2019), The United States’ Role in WTO Reform, China International Studies Vol. 76, hal 81-109

Flowers, Zachary, (2019), The Role of Precedent and State Decisis in the World Trade Organization’s Dispute Settlement Body, International Journal of Legal Information Vol.47, no. 2, hal90-104.

Gebeyehu, Meaza Haddis, (2019), The Impact Of Political Decisions Within The WTO Dispute Settlement System: Political Negotiations Within Adjudication, Indonesian Journal of International Law vol. 17, no. 1, hal 43-65.

Hopewell, Kristen, (2021), Trump & Trade: The Crisis in the Multilateral Trading System, New Political Economy vol. 26, no. 2, hal 271-282.

Holland, Kenneth, (2021), The Trump Administration’s Critique of the World Trade Organization and Its Implications for the International Trading System, Indian Journal of International Economic Law Vol. 13, hal 154-178.

Hyeran J and Namgung, Hyun, (2012), Dispute Settlement Mechanisms in Preferential Trade Agreements: Democracy, Boilerplates, and the Multilateral Trade Regime, Journal of Conflict Resolution vol. 56, no. 6, hal 1041-1068

Hillman, Jennifer, Three Approaches to Fixing the World Trade Organization’s Appellate Body: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly?,

ITLOS, Chronological List of Disputes Cases,

Juwaihan, Ma’en, (2019), Settlement of Commercial Disputes in the World Trade Organization (WTO), Journal of Law, Policy and Globalization vol. 91, hal 86-94.

Kugler, Kholofelo, (2019), The World Trade Organization’s Appellate Body Melee: How Did We Get Here, International Business Law Journal vol. 3, no. 1,hal 269-281.

Khan, Pervaiz and Khan, Mohammad Asif, (2018), GATT (1947) and WTO Dispute Settlement Systems: A Comparative Analysis, Journal of Law and Society (University of Peshawar) vol. 49, no. 73, hal 13-21.

“Map of Disputes Between WTO Members,”

Nguyen, Quynh-Dan, (2016), Error: Essay Not Found: Comparing Censorship in China and South Korea, Brawijaya Law Journal vol. 3, no. 1, hal 17-40.

Shaffer, Gregory, Elsig, Manfred, and Puig, Sergio, (2016), The Extensive (but Fragile) Authority of the WTO Appellate Body, Law and Contemporary Problems vol. 79, no. 1, hal 237-273.

Unterhaler, David, Appellate Body Member, WTO Dispute Settlement Body, Farewell Speech in Geneva,

Voon, Tania, (2015), Evidentiary Challenges for Public Health Regulation in International Trade and Investment Law, Journal of International Economic Law vol. 18, hal 795-826.

World Trade Organization, Chronological List of Disputes Cases,

World Trade Organization, Members Debate Appointment/Reappointment of Appellate Body Members,

World Trade Organization, Appellate Body Members,

World Trade Organization, Members Urge Continued Engagement on Resolving Appellate Body Issues,

Widiatedja, I Gusti Ngurah Parikesit Widiatedja et al. (2019), The Rise of the Spirit of National Interest and the Existence of World Trade Organization Agreement : A Case Study of Indonesia, Hasanuddin Law Review vol.. 73, no. 1, hal 319-340.

Widiatedja, I Gusti Ngurah Parikesit,(2018), Can Indonesia Invoke Public Morals Exception under the World Trade Organization (WTO) for Prohibiting Cross-Border Gambling?, Yustisia vol. 7 no. 2, hal 261-279.

Yang, Pei-kan, (2021), Reinforcing Dispute Settlement Mechanism under the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control as an Option to Solve Trade/Investment-Related Tobacco Disputes, Asian Journal of WTO and International Health Law and Policy vol. 16 no. 2, hal 369-392.

Zelicovich, Julieta, (2021), Are There Still Shared Values to Sustain Multilateralism? Discourse in World Trade Organization Reform Debates, Third World Quarterly vol. 43, no. 2 , hal 332-351.

Zhenyu, Sun, (2019), Some Thoughts on Reform of the WTO, Journal of WTO and China vol. 9 no. 1,hal 3-21


Dispute Settlement Rules, Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes, Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization, Annex 2, 1994.

Case Law

Australia-Anti-Dumping Measures on A4 Copy Paper,

Appellate Body Report, European Communities – Regime for the Importation, Sale and Distribution of Bananas, WT/DS27/AB/R,25 September 1997.

Appellate Body Report, United States - Measures Affecting the Cross-Border Supply of Gambling and Betting Services, WT/ DS285/AB/R, 7 April 2005.

Appellate Body Report, European Communities - Measures Prohibiting the Importation and Marketing of Seal Products,WT/DS400/AB/R, 22 May 2014.

Appellate Body Secretariat, Annual Report for 2008, 2009,

Appellate Body Secretariat, Annual Report for 2008, 2009,

DSB, Minutes of DSB Meeting of 31 August 2017, WT/DSB/M/400.

DSB, Minutes of DSB Meeting of 29 September 2017, WT/DSB/M/400, 2017.

DSB, Minutes of the DSB Meeting of 22 June 2018, WT/DSB/M/414 ,2018

Indonesia – Measures Relating to Raw Materials,

Panel Report, China - Measures Affecting Trading Rights and Distribution Services for Certain Publications and Audiovisual Entertainment Products, WT/DS363/R,12 August 2009

WTO Secretariat, Report of the WTO Secretariat on the Trade Policy Review of Canada, WT/TPR/S/53, 19 November 1998.

WTO Secretariat, Report of the WTO Secretariat on the Trade Policy Review of Colombia, WT/TPR/S/172/Rev.1, 3 April 2007.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2022 I Gusti Ngurah Parikesit Widiatedja, Mohammad Qadam Shah

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Analytics Jurnal IUS statcounter

View full indexing services.