In this short response, we offer some additional context to the appointment of government officials as World Trade Organization (WTO) panelists, some information on the role of the Secretariat and areas of cross-fertilization.
The Involvement of Panel Members Working for Government
Pauwelyn emphasizes that a significant proportion of WTO panel members have a substantial government background. His numbers indicate that for the period 1995-2014, 88 percent of WTO panelists had worked a minimum of “three years in government as diplomats, negotiators, bureaucrats, ministers and so on.” However, if we look at whether the panelists are employed by governments, either as diplomats or trade specialists, at the time of their appointment as WTO panelists, the figure changes dramatically: only about 50 percent of WTO panelists are employed in government at the time of their nomination. In accordance with Article 8.9 of the Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU), the procedural rules applicable to WTO dispute settlement proceedings, panelists serve in their individual capacities and not as government representatives.