The IELP blog has referred to a domestic challenge to the COOL decision of the WTO in a local U.S. Court here. News of it is found here.The complaint has called into question, inter alia, WTO's authority to override U.S. law. The sovereignty debate is back again. Domestic policy making is continuously challenged under the multilateral trading system. Is every decision of the WTO (panel or Appellate Body) which goes against a country's law a setback to a country's sovereignty? the complaint, inter alia, sought for a declaration that the WTO has no authority to override U.S. law and that its decision concerning the Country of Origin Labeling Act is void in the United States and throughout the world.
"22. The WTO Appellate Panel Members were Ujal Singh Bhatia, Ricardo Ramírez- Hernández and Peter Van den Bossche.
23. Mr. Bhatia was formerly India’s Representative to the WTO. Mr. Bhatia is not a lawyer.
24. Although Ricardo Ramírez-Hernández is a lawyer, he is a Mexican national who has represented Mexico in trade matters. He has an obvious conflict of interest since Mexico was a party to the case, and he should have been disqualified as an appellate jurist.
The conflict of interest pertained specifically to the Mexican member on the Appellate Body. This was echoed by a comment to the post in the IELP blog.25. Panel member Peter Van den Bossche is from Belgium. Mr. Van de Bossche is a lawyer."
The DSU provisions relating to the Appellate Body are laid out in Article 17. Article 17(3) of the DSU referrers to the composition and states:
A distinction between Panel members and Appellate Body members, in terms of composition, needs to be highlighted. This has a bearing not he conflict of interest argument. In the case of Panel members, there is a bar for citizens from countries that are parties to the dispute from being a part of the Panel, unless agreed to by the disputing parties (which is very unlikely). This is found in Article 8(3) of the DSU which states: