Many worry that the current United States–China trade wars, and negotiations therefrom, might undermine the WTO dispute settlement mechanism (DSM). Curiously, however, both the United States and China have not completely bypassed the WTO DSM.
In fact, both countries have invoked the WTO DSM in tandem with their unilateral/bilateral engagements outside of the WTO. For example, China sued the United States for the latter’s punitive tariffs against the former (here and here). The United States also filed a complaint against China regarding the latter’s alleged violation of TRIPS, in addition to its execution of the Section 301 procedure on the same complaint.
One might surmise that the U.S.’ such actions are in contrast to its recent blocking of new Appellate Body members. So, can we say comfortably that the WTO DSM is resilient? Or, are these all about merely anteing up political rhetoric?