Taxing liquor

. . . is the topic of my latest Trade Tripper column in this Friday-Saturday issue of BusinessWorld. Excerpts:

"It would be interesting to see how that turns out. The dispute is formally lodged as Philippines — Taxes on Distilled Spirits (docketed as DS396). There have been three (only three) liquor tax disputes that went through the gauntlet of the WTO dispute settlement system and all three were resolved in favor of the complainants. For avid students of trade legal history, all three cases included the EC as complainant. Although, theoretically, stare decisis is not followed in international law, recent empirical studies have shown that complainants in WTO disputes remarkably win over 90% of the cases that go into litigation. This is a win-rate far above that of any domestic tribunal. Nevertheless, the Philippines certainly has deep expertise on its side as our very own (and founding WTO Appellate Body member) Justice Florentino Feliciano sat as a judge in the three-man tribunal for the second case (on Korean liquor taxes) and presided over the third (Chilean liquor taxes)."