Interpretative authority of the appellate body: Replies to the criticism by the united states

Yuka Fukunaga*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Citations (Scopus)


The United States has been blocking consensus of the Members of the World Trade Organization on the appointment and reappointment of Appellate Body members by raising several concerns with the practice of the Appellate Body. At several recent meetings of theDispute Settlement Body, the United States has outlined in detail its specific concerns, one of which pertains to the interpretative authority of the Appellate Body. More specifically, the United States criticizes the Appellate Body for treating its previous interpretations as “binding and controlling” and for insisting that they must serve as precedent “absent cogent reasons.” This chapter analyzes the criticism and points out seven specific errors in it. It also argues that the United States wrongly or deliberately alters what the Appellate Body in fact stated in the past decisions with a view to discrediting the Appellate Body. Finally, it warns that the Appellate Body impasse would not be broken, as long as the United States maintains its erroneous views.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Appellate Body of the WTO and Its Reform
PublisherSpringer Singapore
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9789811502552
ISBN (Print)9789811502545
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jan 1


  • Appellate body
  • Exclusive authority to adopt authoritative interpretations
  • Precedent
  • Vienna convention on the law of treaties (vclt)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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