Hudec as panellist

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The reports of the major Panels on which Bob served - and I count the Customs User Fee, the Salmon and Herring and the Canada - Pharmaceutical Patents cases as the major Panels - reflect some of the key ideas that he held on state-to-state dispute settlement in international trade matters. First, his academic background meant that he wanted to get the right answer, which required an exhaustive consideration of the relevant sources for interpreting the underlying agreement. And for Bob, that exhaustive search went far beyond dictionaries (notwithstanding the Appellate Body's fascination with them) and considered all of the sources available to ascertain the meaning of the agreement. This thoroughness can be seen in all of the major reports, as well as the New Zealand Butter case, which, as mentioned above, was settled, such that the report was never published. Second, the reports reflect his concern that the dispute settlement system not push too far, but leave adequate room for governments to pursue preferred policy options. Both the Customs User Fee and the Canada - Pharmaceutical Patents cases could have reached much more limiting results, but instead reached results that both sides could accept, and the Salmon and Herring case suggested the basis for the settlement which was adopted. Third, the reports with which Bob was associated also showed a willingness to innovate in considering issues that had not been considered before. The approach to the interpretation of Article XX(g) in the Salmon and Herring case and the analysis of discrimination for purposes of TRIPs Article 27 in the Canada - Pharmaceutical Patents case are both examples of such innovation. To put it succinctly, Bob Hudec had a major influence on GATT/WTO dispute settlement, not only as the leading academic of the subject, but also as a player - a panellist on several important Panels. His Panel service sets a high standard for future panellists, especially those from academia. The reports that Bob was associated with were always superbly written and contained exhaustive analysis of the text of the provisions at issue and their negotiating history. And the results were pragmatic - true to the wording of the relevant agreement, but nuanced so as to be acceptable to the parties. This latter characteristic epitomized Bob's concern throughout his academic study of the GATT/WTO Panel system that care had to be taken lest the fragility of the system be exposed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)761-769
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of World Trade
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Law


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