The European Union has signed a agreement with a group of countries to create a mechanism that will ultimately resolve its pending disputes in the World Trade Organization (WTO), where the Appellate Body has ceased to function due to the US blockade.
The discussions concluded in this regard at a meeting of 35 trade ministers in Davos, confirmed on Friday the Swiss Secretary of State for the Economy, Marie Ineichen-Fleisch, whose country acted as host of the meeting and is part of the agreement. Several Latin American countries are also part of it (Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay, Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala Y Mexico, among others), as well as China, Australia, South Korea, Norway, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland Y Uruguay.
An “interim” mechanism for blocking
These are 16 countries that have accepted the EU proposal, which implies “an agreement of principles”, but whose details still need to be discussed and agreed, the Swiss official reported at a press conference. It is an “interim” mechanism that under no circumstances should delay a definitive solution to the paralysis in which the WTO Appellate Body has been since last December 11, said Ineichen-Fleisch.
This situation is due to during the last three years the USA. it has blocked the designation of the new members that this instance requires, which in a normal situation should be seven. The organization, which has 164 member states, cannot, for this reason, issue decisions in an appeal on commercial disputes between countries.
The WTO Appellate Body operated in its last period of operation with only three members, but two of them concluded their term in December and Washington refused to join the consensus to elect its substitutes.
One of the main outstanding issues is who will ultimately play the role of judges, although a source who participated in the meeting of ministers in Davos said everyone agrees that “they must be very competent people.”