Paralysis of World Trade Organisation Appeals Mechanism a blow to Rules Based Global Trade

Chambers Ireland calls on the EU to work with global partners to advocate for rules-based trade and World Trade Organisation (WTO) reform following the paralysis and breakdown of the WTO’s Appellate Body.

Speaking this afternoon, Chambers Ireland Chief Executive Ian Talbot said,

“We’re deeply concerned as to what today’s news means for the future of global rules-based trade and international dispute resolution. Ireland is a very small but very open economy and relies on these structures to ensure there is an even playing field. For many years, the dispute settlement function of the WTO has proven of vital importance in ensuring all trading partners play by the same rules.

While the system is not perfect, the decision by the United States to paralyse the Appellate Body is very dangerous and risks granting a license for governments to misbehave. With rising trade tensions and the escalation of trade disputes, the collapse of the Appeals Body is regrettable. The threat of a hard Brexit and further disruption is still a potential prospect as the UK goes to the polls this week. Therefore, this outcome is a very damaging development for Ireland at an uncertain moment.

The dissolution of the dispute-settlement system underlines further the importance of the European Union and the role of Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan to advocate for international rules-based trade and lead the way for reform. It’s imperative that the EU and other international governments adopt a pragmatic approach to resolving trade disputes while the Appellate Body remains in limbo. In the short term, this means avoiding tit-for-tat retaliation in trade disputes and pursuing alternative means of settling disputes under WTO rules – including through binding arbitration.

We urge Commissioner Hogan and the EU to continue to provide stability for businesses through enforcing rules in international trade matters.”