The ACWL’s Report on Operations for 2023 is now available on the ACWL’s website.

The ACWL’s mandate is to ensure that developing countries* and least-developed countries (LDCs) are able to participate fully in the WTO legal system. The ACWL provides, on demand, legal advice, assistance in WTO dispute settlement proceedings, and training on WTO law to its developing country Members and to the LDCs. At present, 82 governments (approximately half of the Members of the WTO) are entitled to the ACWL’s services.

The Report on Operations for 2023 summarizes the ACWL’s operations during the year.

In 2023, the ACWL provided 180 legal opinions on issues of WTO law to its developing country Members and the LDCs (compared to 158 in 2022) and has now provided over 3,700 legal opinions since its inception. A total of 33 different countries, including 7 LDCs, sought the ACWL’s advice in 2023.  In the second half of the year, much of this work concerned the preparations for the WTO’s 13th Ministerial Conference in Abu Dhabi in 2024.

These legal opinions help developing and least-developed countries participate fully in the WTO legal system by increasing their understanding of WTO law and enabling them to defend their interests in the WTO. The ACWL’s legal advice also serves an important dispute prevention function by enabling these countries to ensure the WTO-consistency of their trade-related measures.

This year was the first in many years in which the ACWL was not asked to assist in a new dispute settlement proceeding.  This reflects the overall reduced activity in the WTO dispute settlement system as a result of the Appellate Body crisis, the effects of the pandemic, and the ongoing dispute settlement reform negotiations.  Nevertheless, during 2023, the ACWL’s team of 12 lawyers continued to work on 14 ongoing WTO dispute settlement proceedings.  The ACWL has now provided assistance in 72 disputes, or in about 20 per cent of all WTO disputes since the ACWL’s inception.

The ACWL also continued its training activities.  In addition to our regular training activities for Geneva-based delegates, we responded to 13 country-specific requests for training programmes on various aspects of WTO law.   These were provided either in person or virtually.  We also increased our training activities with the Francophone group of WTO Members.  Our Secondment Programme for Trade Lawyers has now provided training to 62 lawyers from 21 developing countries and 15 LDCs.

Printed copies of the Report will soon be available and will be sent to ACWL Members and to the LDCs entitled to the ACWL’s services. We will also provide printed copies of the Report to other interested institutions or persons. To request a printed copy, please send an e-mail stating your name and mailing address to

If you have any questions regarding this Report or the operations of the ACWL, please do not hesitate to contact the Executive Director or any other ACWL staff member.  Enquiries may also be addressed to

Report On Operations 2023 pdf


*Includes Separate Customs Territories


20 February 2024

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