WTO reform: EU proposes way forward on the functioning of the Appellate Body

Today, the EU together with other members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) – Australia, Canada, China, Iceland, India, New Zealand, Mexico, Norway, Singapore and Switzerland – unveiled a proposal for concrete changes to overcome the current deadlock in the WTO Appellate Body.

The proposal will be presented at the meeting of the WTO General Council on 12 December.Commissioner Malmström said: “The appellate body function of the WTO dispute settlement system is moving towards a cliff’s edge. Without this core function of the WTO, the world would lose a system that has ensured stability in global trade for decades. Now, together with a broad coalition of WTO members, we are presenting our most concrete proposals yet for WTO reform. I hope that this will contribute to breaking the current deadlock, and that all WTO members will take responsibility equally, engaging in good faith in the reform process.” For instance, today’s proposals set clear limits for outgoing Appellate Body members, and aim to make sure that appeal proceedings finish on time. The proposed amendments to the WTO Agreement submitted now to the organisation membership follow up on the EU’s ideas to modernise the WTO, published on 18 September, and are part of a broader effort that includes the recently submitted proposal on notification and transparency rules within the WTO that was co-sponsored among others by US and Japan.They are the result of intense discussions over the past weeks with WTO countries and address in a systematic and constructive manner all of the concerns expressed in recent months with respect to the Appellate Body. For the detailed information about the proposals, see the press release online.