Countries demand recourse to US veto power at WTO


Some member countries of the World Trade Organization (WTO) want to create an appeal mechanism that would prevent the US vetoing decisions it dislikes, according to Russian Economy Minister Maksim Oreshkin.

By September four seats will be vacant at the Appellate Body, the WTO appeals chamber, leaving three judges out of the necessary seven. Washington has blocked appointments to the chamber, thus engineering a crisis in the system of settling global disputes.

According to Oreshkin, without the appointments, the WTO appeals body would stop working next year. On Thursday, Oreshkin met with trade ministers from WTO member countries, and they discussed a mechanism that would allow the appeals chamber to work without getting a green light from the US.

“What we have discussed, have suggested is to create a mechanism without taking into account the US stance, which would allow us to settle cases which are reviewed at this appeal commission. We would work on this,” the minister told reporters.

Since 1995, the WTO has expanded to cover around 95 percent of world trade, which has more than tripled to around $18 trillion per year in goods alone. US President Trump has taken a sharp stance on the WTO saying it’s a “catastrophe”. “We lose the cases, we don’t have the judges,” he said in February.