Canada says it is close to deal with EU on possible fix to WTO deadlock
OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada and the European Union are close to agreeing on a possible temporary Answer to a U.S. block appeals in disputes in the World Trade Organization, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Stated on Thursday.
FILE PHOTO: A giant Trojan horse statue holding EU and Canadian flags in its mouth, set up by the social activist band”Council of Canadians” in front of the Ontario Investment and Trade Centre to protest the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union, is seen in Toronto November 4, 2013. REUTERS/Mark Blinch
U.S. President Donald Trump is barring appointments into the WTO’s Appellate Body, stating its own judges have overstepped their support and ignored their instructions. Unless the block is lifted, the planet’s top trade courtroom will be unable to listen to appeals in global trade disputes after Dec. 11.
Trudeau, speaking after a meeting with top EU officials in Montreal, said Canada endorsed existing efforts to restore a fully operational Appellate Body.
“In the event that those attempts are ineffective, we need to be ready. So we have been working with the European Union to discover an interim repair,” he told a news conference.
“After this summit we’re closer to finalizing an arrangement that would help preserve the use of a charm system within the WTO until we find a more permanent solution.”
The U.S. Trade Representative’s office declined to comment. Washington claims that the WTO’s dispute settlement program, particularly in the Appellate Body amount, must be altered since it’s”strayed broadly from original understandings,” as agreed on by members.
Kelly Ann Shaw, deputy director of Trump’s National Economic Council, informed an occasion in Washington on Wednesday that the Trump government was continued to press for a series of WTO reforms, and welcomed a commitment by the Group of 20 industrialized countries a month to work on these changes.
A joint statement issued after the Montreal meeting stated the repair involved establishing an interim appeal mediation arrangement according to present WTO rules.
The EU last month suggested using WTO arbitration rules to set up a shadow version of the body and keep the appeals process moving, but there’s uncertainty about how this type of structure would do the job.
Cecilia Malmstrom, the EU’s trade chief, told the news conference that the deal on a potential repair”sends a powerful message of our shared goal to ensure the entire potency of the WTO and the stability of world trade.”
“That really is a matter of intense urgency and crisis,” Jennifer Hillman, a professor at Georgetown Law School and former judge to the WTO Appellate Body, also told a panel hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies on Wednesday.
“We are in the crisis point. We need to come to settlement about the best way to repair it,” she said.