16 nations sidestep US measures to thwart WTO dispute resolutions
SIXTEEN nations, including, the EU, Canada Australia, China and Brazil are forming an alliance to settle trade disputes using an appeals and arbitration system at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to replace temporarily a process stymied by the US, reports Bloomberg News
SIXTEEN nations, including, the EU, Canada Australia, China and Brazil are forming an alliance to settle trade disputes using an appeals and arbitration system at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to replace temporarily a process stymied by the US, reports Bloomberg News.
Last year, the United States precipitated the paralysis of the WTO appellate body - which acted as a sort of supreme court for trade - by blocking all nominees to the seven-member panel.
The new development marks an advance of the EU's backup plan for settling international trade disputes now that the WTO appellate body is paralysed. The deal was reached among WTO delegates meeting at the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Getting around the US veto involves using an existing WTO rule - Article 25 of the Dispute Settlement Understanding - that permits nations to agree to a voluntary form of arbitration to settle their disputes.
Thus, the WTO director-general can select a panel of arbiters and apply the same procedures. WTO members who agree will undergo the same process as they would have done under the old system.
'We will work towards putting in place contingency measures that would allow for appeals of WTO panel reports in disputes among ourselves,' according to the joint declaration posted by the European Commission.
'We believe that a functioning dispute settlement system of the WTO is of the utmost importance for the rules-based trading system, and that an independent and impartial appeal stage must continue to be one of its essential features,' according to the statement.