Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Fate of WTOs Top Court Effectively Sealed by US Blocking Strategy

The United States said on Dec. 9 that it wont back a proposal to allow the World Trade Organizations..

By Sunday Herald Team , in US Politics , at December 10, 2019

The United States said on Dec. 9 that it wont back a proposal to allow the World Trade Organizations (WTO) top court to continue.

President Donald Trump is a longtime critic of the organization, and for two years, his administration has been blocking appointments to the WTOs seven-member Appellate Body that rules on trade disputes, with U.S. officials saying the court had overstepped its mandate.

While the Appellate Body needs a minimum of three judges to function, the terms of two of the three remaining members of the panel expire Dec. 10; the United States is blocking any possible replacements.

Another attempt was made on Dec. 9 to reach a consensus on arrangements for filling the vacancies, as well as obliging the appeals panel to issue rulings within 90 days. The WTO is the only international group that deals with the rules of trade between each country, via agreements among the organizations member nations.

The U.S. ambassador to the WTO, Dennis Shea, said other members hadnt addressed Washingtons concerns about what he called the courts “overreach” and “disregard” of WTO rules. Shea said the United States didnt support the proposal to start filling Appellate Body positions.

The WTO didnt immediately respond to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.


Much of Trumps criticisms against the WTO center on how the organization treats China. In binding rulings, WTO judges have given Beijing the benefit of the doubt on subsidies and rejected Washingtons concerns about unfair trading practices.

On Twitter in June, Trump called the organization “broken” and said the worlds richest countries “claim to be developing countries to avoid WTO rules and get special treatment … at the expense of the USA!”

In July, Trump pressed the WTO to stop allowing Beijing and other major economies to receive lenient treatment by proclaiming themselves “developing” countries. At the time, Trump directed U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to “use all available means” to get the WTO to block countries from using the claim.

Developing countries get more time to open their economies, more leeway to subsidize their exports, and procedural advantages in WTO disputes. Countries can choose their own status, and other countries can challenge them.

Trump said the designation lets China and others take “unfair” advantage of the trade rules. If the United States decides the WTO hasnt made “substantial progress” after 90 days, it will seek unilaterally to stop treating those countries as developing economies.

“China, which is a great economic power, is considered a Developing Nation within the World Trade Organization,” Trump wrote on Twitter earlier this year. “They, therefore, get tremendous perks and advantages, especially over the U.S. Does anybody think this is fair. We were badly represented. The WTO Read More – Source