WTO and Other Trade Disputes INTERNATIONAL PRACTICES

WilmerHale's WTO dispute settlement experience is unique and broadly recognized.


Our team includes a former Chairman of the WTO Appellate Body, former USTR General Counsel, former Legal Advisor to the European Commission, numerous experienced international litigators with private sector WTO experience, and several attorneys who have served as panelists, arbitrators or thought leaders at the WTO and in bilateral and regional investment disputes and litigation. Collectively, our lawyers have more than 30 years of experience in WTO and General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) dispute settlement proceedings, and have been involved in more than 100 cases representing both companies and WTO member governments. This includes many of the most prominent disputes of the past decade, as well as a range of disputes in the early WTO years, and under the GATT. We also represent clients in a range of other international treaty-based fora, including under regional and bilateral trade and investment agreements and before domestic courts.

Capabilities

We advise governments, companies and industry associations on all aspects of international dispute settlement cases. This includes the initial legal analysis, on-the-ground factual research and review, the development of an overall case strategy, evaluating potential panelists or experts, preparing submissions and statements, and developing implementation and retaliation strategies (or responses to them). We also assist clients in evaluating the legal, political, commercial and practical considerations associated with possible WTO or other dispute resolution, and have extensive experience at the panel stage, before the Appellate Body, in 21.5/22.6 disputes, and with respect to bilateral, regional and plurilateral trade agreements.

Experience

Our team draws on the experience of lawyers from a range of nationalities and backgrounds and with a variety of relevant language capabilities. This allows us to provide seamless support, including with respect to initial fact gathering, legal analysis and review. Members of our team have also acted as panelists, members of the WTO Appellate Body, or in their capacity as US or EU government lawyers in a wide range of other WTO and GATT disputes.

Our experience includes:

  • representing a leading aerospace company in the US- and EC-Large Civil Aircraft cases, the largest and most precedent-setting WTO subsidies disputes to date;
  • representing a major G8 government in WTO cases against, inter alia, India's Additional and Extra-Additional Duty System and China's Raw Material Export Restraints Intellectual Property Rights Regime, and Auto Parts Tariffs, working in multiple languages and across time zones, and developing the full range of substantive and procedural submissions and statements;
  • advising a major G7 government in WTO disputes, including several arising out of US anti-dumping and countervailing duty (and related injury) determinations in Softwood Lumber; as well in such groundbreaking disputes as Canada–Wheat Board and EC–Biotech;
  • working with a major industry association on an amicus curiae brief in the precedent-setting EC–Asbestos dispute;
  • representing a major US information technology industry association in the EC–ITA dispute, involving both complex classification questions as well as the role and appropriate interpretation of the WTO's Information Technology Agreement (ITA) and related compliance issues;
  • representing a key government in the Argentina–Import Licensing dispute, including all submissions and briefings, evidence gathering, and working in both Spanish and English; and
  • reviewing and providing advice as to the existence of potential WTO disputes in dozens if not hundreds of situations, including numerous instances where favorable settlements could be achieved prior to the establishment of a panel (as well as some cases in which we advised our client that a good WTO case was not available and helped find other mechanisms to achieve a favorable outcome).