Among his many invaluable and generous lessons, George Bermann once told us in São Paulo that in every conference he tried to bring the audience something new, an original thought, or a different perspective.
By April 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic is hardly a new topic, having been the focus of global intense attention and permanent concern for over a year. However, it made us revisit a work co-edited by George Bermann in 2006 regarding the World Trade Organization (WTO) law and the impact of health and safety issues on international trade. A review of the WTO practices in this field in 2020 confirmed the close connection between recent trade law developments and improvements in transparency and the efficiency of dispute resolution, one of the several areas for which George Bermann is internationally renowned and acclaimed.
This combination of WTO law and dispute resolution seemed to provide a good foundation for an attempt of a new angle of discussion. We tried to picture what a chapter in a 2021 edition of George Bermann’s 2006 book might have been like. No work on human health and safety in 2021 could ignore the COVID-19 emergency, so this is our (hopefully original at least to some extent) view on the interplay between the pandemic, WTO law and dispute resolution.