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WTO director general Roberto Azevedo says states preparing for trade court shutdown

1 min read

GENEVA: The head of the World Trade Organization Roberto Azevêdo said on Thursday that member states are preparing for end of the body’s dispute settlement system, following months of deadlock activated by the United States.

The WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body (DSB), sometimes dubbed the supreme court of world trade, is in disaster due to Washington’s denial to accept any new judges for its appellate division.

President Donald Trump’s administration has blamed the Dispute Settlement Body of exceeding its authority by delivering broad rulings that he says violate national sovereignty.

WTO director general Roberto Azevedo told reporters in Geneva, WTO members “are working hard to find a solution to the appellate body impasse in time to avoid a paralysis”.

He added “But they are beginning to realize that they have to work also with a scenario where no solution is achieved”.

The WTO faces a December deadline when, due to mandatory retirements, the appellate body will not have enough judges to hear cases.

Trump’s trade office has earlier argued that no foreign court can ever overtake the US legal system, suggesting the US would never surrender final authority in trade clashes to a non-American entity.

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