European Union External Action

EU puts forward its candidate for the pool of arbitrators in the multi-party interim appeal arbitration arrangement and encourages more WTO members to join, 13 May 2020

Brussels, 14/05/2020 - 00:00, UNIQUE ID: 200514_6
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The EU has nominated Prof. Joost H. B. Pauwelyn as its candidate for the pool of 10 standing arbitrators for the multi-party interim appeal arbitration arrangement (MPIA), a stopgap solution in the absence of an operational WTO Appellate Body. All MPIA participants have the possibility to put forward a candidate, with the final list of arbitrators agreed by consensus among the participants.

The aim is to have the pool of 10 standing arbitrators drawn up by the end of July 2020, allowing them to deal, if necessary, with any appeals between MPIA participants. Commissioner for Trade, Phil Hogan, has also written to the trade ministers of over 100 WTO members, inviting them to join the MPIA.

Commissioner Hogan today said: “The EU has nominated its candidate for the pool of arbitrators to serve under the MPIA. This is an important step forward in making the system operational as quickly as possible. It sends an important signal to the WTO membership that participating WTO members are ready to take concrete action to safeguard an independent dispute settlement system with an appeal function. That is why I am encouraging other WTO members to join this temporary initiative, not just to safeguard their rights but to support a rules-based multilateral dispute settlement system which will be crucial in our economic recovery process”.

The MPIA is in effect since 30 April 2020, when the EU and 18 other WTO members notified the arrangement to the WTO. It provides the participating WTO members with a functioning and independent two-tier dispute settlement system in disputes between them. It will apply until the WTO’s Appellate Body is once again able to function.

The EU’s priority remains resolving the current WTO Appellate Body impasse as part of a wider reform of the WTO. This is even more important now that the public health situation has re-emphasised the need for a properly functioning, multilateral, rules-based global trading system. For this reason, Commissioner Hogan has also written to Robert Lighthizer, the United States Trade Representative, reiterating the EU’s offer to work together to reform the WTO Appellate Body and other aspects of the WTO system that need improvement.

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