For the first time in its 24-year history, the WTO is facing an existential crisis. For several years the U.S. has voiced its concern with the Appellate Body process at the World Trade Organization (WTO) by blocking the appointment and reappointments of “judges”1at the Dispute Settlement Appellate Body due to concerns over “judicial overreach.” If there is no resolution before December 11, 2019, the world’s most prominent trade dispute settlement mechanism will lose quorum and be unable to hear any new cases. The current system has provided the U.S. agriculture sector with key victories in the past and stability in the tariff rates farmers, ranchers, and agriculture exporters face in foreign markets. In a world with no WTO dispute settlement institution, trade disputes in export markets would need to be either resolved through non-binding arbitration or through litigation in the domestic courts.
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