AUWCL’s International Trade and Investment Law Society Presented the US Trade Policy Panel on WTO Participation and Potential Violation


On April 2, 2018, American University Washington College of Law (AUWCL) hosted a U.S. Trade Policy Panel on WTO Participation and Potential Violation. The panel was presented by AUWCL’s International Trade and Investment Law Society. 

The interactive panel gathered experienced trade negotiators and WTO litigators, moderated by Patrick Macrory, director of the International Trade Law Institute and a partner at Appleton Luff. The panel of speakers was comprised of Warren H. Maruyama, a partner at Hogan Lovells; Vanessa P. Sciarra, vice President for Legal Affairs and Trade & Investment Policy at National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC); James R. Cannon, an AUWCL alumnus and partner at Cassidy Levy Kent, and Evelyn M. Suarez with The Suarez Firm.

The discussion on U.S. Trade Policy is very timely given the current political situation. The speakers exchanged opinions on both domestic and international impact of the recent tariffs on Steel and Aluminum, Section 301 investigation against China on intellectual property, and Canada’s WTO challenge on US trade rule book. According to Patrick Macrory, a 70 percent increase in trade cases in the past year could be caused by the petitioners’ belief that they will receive more favorable results from the current administration. Macrory shared that there is a feeling that the Trump administration is undermining the WTO, in particular attacking the dispute settlement system. The speakers discussed the question whether WTO has hit the end of its era of WTO and the current times are the beginning of trade war.

All experts agreed that the WTO is substantially weakened. There have been no successful multilateral negotiations since the Uruguay Round, except the Trade Facilitation Agreement. However, Vanessa P. Sciarra remains positive about the WTO as a forum for an exchange of ideas. Warren H. Maruyama mentioned that for developing countries, having a strong and functioning WTO that deals with investment and e-commerce would probably avoid a situation of big free trade agreements where there is less interest in small developing countries.


The next International Investment Law event “Rejection of Mining Licensees: between Disappointment and Breach of the Fair and Equitable Treatment Standard” is scheduled for April 12. More details at: