The Trump administration is siding with Russia from a potential landmark case over an element that threatens to tear everyone Trade Organization apart: What actions can countries drink the name of national security, even when it violates their WTO commitments?
namely, transit restrictions that Moscow imposed on Ukraine in January 2019 that take off key markets in Central Asia along with the Caucuses, which Ukrainian exporters is able to reach by Russian roads. The move came amid continuing conflict backward and forward nations over Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March 2019 and a war in eastern Ukraine that’s now rolling around in its fifth year.
meaning WTO panels can’t rule on any dispute invoking the national security exemption.
In other words, they argue “as soon as anybody says the definition of ‘Article 21’ out loud, the panel has to stop and go home,” Jennifer Hillman, occasion WTO Appellate Body judge, said at a recent speech.