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15th Annual WTO Conference (6 & 7 May 2015)

Date: 6th May 2015 - 7th May 2015

Time: 09:00 - 17:00

Venue: Goodenough College, Mecklenburgh Square, LONDON, WC1N 2AB

Event Details

Online bookings are now closed. However we are still taking manual bookings. Please contact the Events team to make your booking.

Time: 6 May - 08:15-18:00; 7 May 08:15-17:45

Venue: London House, Goodenough College, Mecklenburgh Square, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 2AB

The Annual WTO Conference was originally established in 2000 through a partnership between the British Institute of International and Comparative Law (BIICL) and the Institute of International Economic Law (IIEL) at the Georgetown University Law Center, and is currently organised jointly by BIICL, IIEL, and the Society of International Economic Law (SIEL).

The title of the 15th Annual WTO Conference is:

The WTO at 20: Taking Stock and Challenges Ahead


Wednesday 6 May

Panel 1.1: Measures Pursuing Multiple Policy Objectives: The Scope of Application and Overlapping Disciplines in GATT-TBT-SPS after Seals

This panel will address a number of issues raised in the Appellate Body report in Seals, including; its interpretation of national treatment and MFN in the GATT v. TBT; the scope of application of TBT; how to address measures with multiple objectives under the GATT, TBT, and SPS; how to draw the line between TBT and SPS; and the analysis of measures with multiple objectives under GATT Article XX and its chapeau.


  • Andrew Lang, London School of Economics


  • Lorand Bartels, University of Cambridge
  • Gracia Marin-Duran, University of Edinburgh
  • Jan Yves Remy, Sidley
  • Yahir Acosta, UNAM

Panel 1.2: WTO Accession Protocols and Other Non-Treaty WTO Instruments or Texts: Legal Status and Interpretation in WTO Dispute Settlement

Recent Appellate Body reports, including the China - Raw Materials report, call into question the relationship between an Accession Protocol, and the Marrakesh Agreement and its annexed Multilateral Trade Agreements. This panel will address this issue, as well as other issues relating to the process of accession in the WTO and different steps of legal relevance, the interpretative impact of Secretariat notes, WTO committee decisions, ministerial declarations and statements, and WTO-plus issues.


  • Gabrielle Marceau, WTO


  • Julia Ya Qin, Wayne State Univ./ Tsinghua Univ.
  • Marco Bronckers, VVGB Advocaten/Avocats
  • Dylan Geraets, KU Leuven

Panel 1.3: Restoring the Negotiating Function of the WTO: Are there Alternatives to the Single-Speed, Single Undertaking Approach?

Discuss Trade Facilitation Agreement experience (and treatment of LDCs there); current treatment of environmental goods negotiations within the WTO; TISA negotiations process and ITA expansion; plurilaterals and new ways to define "consensus" or start negotiations (e.g. on services, even agriculture) within or outside the WTO with a sub-group of members only; legal effects of different ways of locking in negotiation results; resort to amendment or interpretative powers within the WTO Agreement?

  • Alejandro Jara, King & Spalding


  • Stefan Amarasinha, Permanent Mission of the European Union to the World Trade Organization (WTO)
  • Thomas Cottier, World trade Institute, Bern
  • Victor do Prado, WTO
  • Nicolas Lamp, Queen's University, Ontario

Keynote Address


  • David Unterhalter, former Chairperson, WTO Appellate Body

Provisional Title: The Role of Law and Individual Adjudicators in WTO/Trade Agreements

Introduction and Discussion

  • Jennifer Hillman, former Chairperson, WTO Appellate Body

Thursday 7 May

Panel 2.1: The Revival of Export Controls and Trade Sanctions: The Russia-Ukraine Conflict and Beyond

Although Russia has acceded to membership of the WTO, it has been alleged that Russia has used SPS and TBT type measures to coerce former Soviet satellite states and other countries to act consistently with Russia's economic and political goals, including the formation of the Eurasian Economic Union. After armed conflict was initiated in Ukraine, and Crimea was forcibly annexed by Russia, The US, the EU and other countries have imposed economic sanctions, including trade embargos, against Russia; Russia has retaliated with additional trade sanctions on terms designed to invoke security exceptions such as GATT Article XXI. This panel will address the WTO law and policy implicated by these events, and will explore the broader implications of the revival of export controls and trade sanctions for practicing lawyers and multinationals enterprises.


  • Jennifer Hillman, Georgetown Law


  • Brendan McGivern , White & Case
  • Stephen Kho, Akin Gump
  • Konstantinos Adamantopoulos, HFW
  • Marios Iacovides, Bocconi Univ./Uppsala Univ.

Panel 2.2: The "Plain Packaging" Public Health Strategy: Tobacco Products, Alcohol, Sugary Products: What Role (If Any) For the WTO?

A WTO dispute is in progress challenging Australia's adoption of a "plain packaging" strategy as a public health measure to deter tobacco use. Other challenges to this strategy have also been brought through investment treaty arbitration. This panel will discuss the current progress in these challenges, and the broader legal and policy issues framed in a variety of legal regimes (such as WTO, IP provisions of RTAs, BITs, and domestic law) by the adoption, or proposed adoption, of the plain packaging strategy across a range of "unhealthy products" such as tobacco, alcoholic beverages, sugary drinks, etc.


  • Joost Pauwelyn, Graduate Institute, Geneva/ Georgetown Law


  • Duane Layton, Mayer Brown
  • Helene Ruiz Fabri, Max Planck Institute Luxembourg
  • Fernando Dias Simões, Univ. of Macau; Institute of International Studies, Bangkok
  • Margherita Melillo Scuola, Superiore Sant'Anna

Panel 2.3: Developments in WTO Dispute Settlement Procedure & Jurisprudence

This panel will address a variety of persistent or emerging issues relating to WTO dispute settlement, including: The increasing use of settlement agreements to permit WTO members to maintain measures that potentially breach WTO obligations (see, e.g., US - Cotton; US - Clove Cigarettes); the possibility of waiving WTO rights in FTAs, including right to initiate dispute settlement in the WTO (see, e.g., Peru - Agricultural Products); the definition of a measure; and the role of the DSB. The panel may also discuss substantive law developments in WTO cases of the past year, including AB reports expected to be circulated prior to the date of the conference, potentially including US - CVD (China) and US - Carbon Steel (India). Other issues to be covered may include an update on the definition of a "public body"; the use of out-of-country benchmarks; US GPX law and the AB report in US - Countervailing and Anti-Dumping Measures (China); and the prospect of US treatment of China as an NME after December 2016. and the potential impact on AD/CVD cases.


  • James Flett, European Commission


  • Philippe De Baere, Van Bael & Bellis
  • Sidonie Descheemaeker, IELPO, Univ. of Barcelona
  • Atul Sharma, Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan SARL
  • Clair Gammage, Cardiff Univ. School of Law and Politics


Legal Innovations & Drafting Options in 21st Century Free Trade Agreements; Promoting Regulatory Coherence

This Roundtable will evaluate and discuss various efforts in recent FTAs and in the WTO to address so-called regulatory trade barriers. The boldest proposals are in the TTIP, but the TPP and the CETA also address these issues. Furthermore, there are long-standing obligations at the WTO, and more recent efforts to push these issues further in the TBT Committee. Are these efforts likely to be successful? Will overlapping rules in different trade agreements lead to more or less coherence? What is the proper role of trade agreements in addressing regulatory issues? What kind of institutions are needed here? We will discuss these questions, and also reflect on guiding principles such as non-discrimination, necessity, mutual recognition, harmonization, and other forms of cooperation mechanisms between regulators.


  • Simon Lester, IIEL and Cato Institute


  • Greg Shaffer, Univ. California, Irvine
  • Jan Wouters, KU Leuven
  • Alejandro Jara, King & Spalding

Download the Draft Programme

Download the Event Flyer

Pricing and Registration

BIICL Members:

  • Individual - £235
  • Full-time Academic - £180
  • Full-time Student - £90


  • Individual - £395
  • Full-time Academic - £300
  • Full-time Student - £150

N.B. The Academic rate also applies to staff of government and non-profit organisations.

Online bookings are now closed. However we are still taking manual bookings. Please contact the Events team to make your booking.


If you have any queries, please contact the Events team

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Please note that our events may be photographed or audio recorded. These materials will be used for internal and external promotional purposes only by the British Institute of International and Comparative Law. If you object to appearing in the photographs, please let our photographer know on the day. Alternatively you can email BIICL Marketing Manager, Claudia Mansaray in advance of the event that you are attending.

Event Cancellation Policy

Cancellation by us

The British Institute of International and Comparative Law reserves the right to modify or cancel any event if unforeseen circumstances arise. If we cancel an event we shall inform you as soon as possible using the contact details provided to us and offer you a full refund.

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All cancellations must be made in writing via email to and be no less than one week prior to the event.

Payment for registration will always be required, and must be made prior to the event. If sufficient written notification of cancellation is received, a full refund will be given. If insufficient notice is given, payment for your registration will still be required.

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