A crippled dispute settlement system of WTO 'worrisome': spokesperson
A dysfunctional dispute settlement system of the World Trade Organization is worrisome and will open door to more unilateral actions, WTO spokesperson Keith Rockwell has said.
In a recent exclusive interview with Xinhua, Rockwell reiterated that "the dispute settlement system has been an integral part of the success of the WTO."
"If you take away this important multilateral component, you open the door to more unilateral actions," warned the spokesperson.
As the central pillar of multilateral trading system, dispute settlement is the WTO's unique contribution to the stability of the global economy, without which the rules-based system would be less effective because the rules could not be enforced.
However, the dispute settlement body of the WTO, especially its Appellate Body, is facing a potential crisis.
A dysfunctional Appellate Body and a crippled dispute settlement system "are very worrisome," Rockwell noted.
"The concern is that if the appellate process is somehow derailed, this could have a knock-on effect," warned Rockwell. "If the possibility of appeal is not there, then implementing the panel report becomes impossible."
The Appellate Body functions as the de facto court of appeals at the WTO and is comprised of seven members. At least three members are needed to hear an appeal.
However, nomination of new members has been blocked by the United States. If that remains the case, the body will have too few members to function by the end of this year.