WTO Unable To Hear Appeals On Trade Disputes

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The World Trade Organization will, for the time being, be unable to hear cases on trade disputes.

Recently, two judges who work for the WTO resigned. These two judges sit on a governing body within the institution that seeks to hear trade disputes and deliver verdicts that dictate global trade relations. There are three judges on this governing body.

However, the U.S. is currently refusing to appoint new judges to fill the two seats that have become vacant. With only one judge remaining, the WTO in effect is unable to hear new cases until those two vacancies are filled.

The role of this appellate body is to ensure that fair trade is carried out. Typically, the rulings of these judges get members to comply with global trade rules. If not, the country wronged by another country’s rule breaking can impose tariffs equal to the amount lost because of the rule breaking.

Currently, the WTO manages and oversees 96% of global trade. And it is said that this organization has increased trade amongst member countries by 171%. The lack of an appellate body means that there is no arbiter of trade relations.

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