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Global dispute settlement, India and appellate review

  • Published
    30th Sep, 2023


The recently concluded G-20 Declaration, among its many commitments, reiterated the need to pursue reform of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to improve all its functions and conduct proactive discussions “to ensure a fully and well-functioning dispute settlement system accessible to all members by 2024”.

WTO Dispute Settlement and its Challenges

  • WTO's Dysfunction: The WTO's dispute settlement system has faced issues since 2019 due to the United States blocking appellate body appointments.
  • Significance of Dispute Settlement: The system is vital for ensuring coherent rulings, predictability, and confidence in the WTO's dispute resolution process.
  • Future Uncertainty: The G-20 Declaration expresses support, but the U.S. opposes an appellate review, raising questions about the system's future.

Need for Appellate Review in Investment Law

  • ISDS in International Investment Law: Investor-state-dispute settlement (ISDS) plays a crucial role, but it lacks an appellate review mechanism.
  • Challenges in ISDS: ISDS lacks consistency and coherence, leading to instability and unpredictability in international investment law.
  • Benefits of Appellate Review: Establishing an appellate mechanism can rectify legal errors, harmonize interpretations, and bring stability and certainty to ISDS.

India's Role in Promoting Appellate Review

  • India's Stance: India's model BIT indicates support for appellate review in ISDS, aligning with concerns about ISDS inconsistency.
  • EU Negotiations: India must take a stand on appellate review during ongoing investment treaty talks with the EU, which advocates for it.
  • Promoting Global Order: India's commitment to a rule-based global order should drive support for appellate review in ISDS and the WTO dispute settlement system.
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