Sixteen members of the WTO, including the European Union, China and Brazil are setting up a parallel World Trade Organization court without the U.S., the European Commission said Friday in a statement.
The EU has been discussing setting up a new dispute settlement court without the U.S. for some time. Proponents of the plan argued that U.S. President Donald Trump has left them little choice as the administration has been blocking the appointment of judges to the WTO Appellate Body, leaving countries without a forum to solve their trade disputes. However, there was also some intra-EU discussion on whether this was the best approach, as it could drive a wedge between Europe and America.
EU Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan said this “remains a contingency measure needed because of the paralysis of the WTO Appellate Body” and that the EU “will continue our efforts to seek a lasting solution to the Appellate Body impasse, including through necessary reforms and improvements.”
Trade ministers met Friday in Davos, Switzerland to prepare the 12th WTO ministerial conference in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan.