On 24th January 2020 at Davos, Switzerland, the Ministers of 16 WTO Member countries agreed to develop a multi-party interim appeal arrangement based on Article 25 of the WTO Dispute Settlement Understanding. The countries are Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the European Union, Guatemala, Republic of Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Singapore, Switzerland, and Uruguay.
The arrangement will allow the participating WTO members to preserve a functioning, two-step, binding dispute settlement system at the WTO for the purpose of resolving disputes among them. It is intended to be a temporary measure, in place only until a reformed WTO Appellate Body becomes fully operational. The joint statement issued by the Ministers of the 16 WTO Member countries provides that participation in the arrangement will be open to any WTO Member willing to join it.
This move corresponds with the announcement this week by U.S. President Donald Trump that he has begun talks with WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo on WTO reforms.
Considering the growing interest in the interim appeal arrangement, the anticipated reform of the Appellate Body, and potential updates with respect to the WTO Agreements, it looks to be an interesting year ahead for the heavily-used WTO dispute settlement mechanism.
Tereposky & DeRose has extensive experience in WTO dispute settlement. Should you have any questions regarding this subject matter, we are at your disposal.