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UK Statement to the WTO Dispute Settlement Body on Appellate Body Appointments

The UK delivered this statement at a meeting of the WTO Dispute Settlement Body on 29 July 2020.

The United Kingdom continues its support for this proposal for the launch of the selection process and we refer to our previous statements on this agenda item. We also support the statement made by Mexico on behalf of all co-sponsors.

The United Kingdom is a strong supporter of the WTO dispute settlement system, as a central pillar of the rules-based multilateral trading system. An effective and binding dispute settlement mechanism ensures that we can enforce the rules we have negotiated, preserving the rights and obligations of all Members.

We continue to be concerned that the WTO Membership has not been able to launch the selection process for new Appellate Body members, with the result that the Appellate Body is unable to hear new appeals. At a time when the broader multilateral trading system is under strain, we are starting to see the concrete impairment of rights arising from this situation.

The United Kingdom remains committed to finding a permanent resolution to the impasse with the Appellate Body which carries the support of all WTO Members. A fully-functioning two-stage dispute settlement system is key to providing the predictability and stability that businesses need to trade internationally.

We understand the long-standing concerns that have been raised, and we recognise that in a consensus-based organisation, any dispute resolution mechanism must carry the trust of all Members. We stand ready to play a full role in future discussions on dispute settlement reform.

However, finding a solution should not stand in the way of Members accessing their rights to two-stage dispute settlement under the Agreements and the launch of the Appellate Body selection process. We therefore call on all Members to act urgently to restore the system to full functioning, while we prioritise discussions on a permanent solution.


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