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EU + 16 WTO members agree temporary dispute settlement arrangement

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EU + 16 WTO members agree temporary dispute settlement arrangement

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(DAVOS) - The EU and 16 other WTO members agreed Friday to develop a multi-party interim appeal arrangement for participating WTO members to preserve a 2-step dispute settlement system in disputes among them.

The initiative was launched in mid-December 2019 by the EU and a number of other WTO members following the effective paralysis of the WTO Appellate Body, due to the blockage of any new appointments since 2017.

The agreement was welcomed by the European Commission, which attached high importance to retaining a two-step dispute settlement process in WTO trade matters.

"The multi-party appeal arbitration arrangement will guarantee that the participating WTO members continue to have access to a binding, impartial and high-quality dispute settlement system among them," said the EU's Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan. He added that they would continue efforts to find a "lasting solution to the Appellate Body impasse".

The multi-party interim arrangement will be based on Article 25 of the WTO Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU). It will secure the participating WTO members (Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the European Union, Guatemala, Republic of Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Singapore, Switzerland, and Uruguay) an effective and binding dispute settlement process for potential trade disputes among them.

The arrangement is a contingency measure which will only apply until the WTO Appellate Body becomes operational again. The EU believes that an independent and impartial appeal stage, giving the necessary guarantees of rulings of the highest quality, must continue to be one of the essential features of the WTO dispute settlement system.

Joint Statement

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