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ICYMI: As WTO Appellate Body Languishes, 30+ Business and Trade Groups Offer Reforms

Dec 10, 2019 by AFP

Arlington, Va.— After today the World Trade Organization (WTO) Appellate Body ceases to function due to an impasse over judicial appointments. Americans for Prosperity (AFP) recently joined more than 30 free trade and industry organizations in a letter to the president, urging his administration to support reforms to the WTO  Appellate Body in order to restore the tribunal.


In case you missed it, here are excerpts from news articles related to the letter:


Business, pro-trade groups propose fixes to WTO Appellate Body | Inside Trade

A coalition of U.S. business and free trade advocacy groups has put forward a proposal designed to address U.S. concerns with the World Trade Organization’s Appellate Body ahead of a likely paralysis of the body beginning this week. “America’s economic interests will be harmed if there is no internationally agreed upon mechanism for combatting unfair trade practices of other nations,” more than 20 groups wrote in a Dec. 6 letter to President Trump.


New Proposal Seeks to Save World Trade Organization | Forbes


Trade experts note America will not benefit from the absence of a dispute resolution mechanism at the WTO. “Without an appellate body it is possible that any new WTO decisions over trade disputes could be blocked indefinitely,” Bryan Riley, director of the National Taxpayers Union’s Free Trade Initiative, said in an interview. “The U.S. needs to be able to rely on the WTO to hold our trading partners accountable to the rules.”


Riley and other free trade advocates believe members of Congress need to “stick up” for the WTO. He points to a recent resolution from Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) and Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ) reaffirming U.S. commitment to the WTO as a starting point, along with oversight hearings.


Groups Urge USTR to Back Plan for WTO Reform | Politico Morning Trade


A coalition of business groups and the free market advocacy group Americans for Prosperity want the Trump administration to endorse a three-part plan for reforming the WTO’s Appellate Body, which is expected to effectively shut down after Tuesday because of the U.S.’s refusal to allow new members to be appointed.


“We urge your administration to strike while the iron is hot by stating prior to Dec. 10 that the goal of the United States is not to kill the Appellate Body, but rather to reform it,” the groups said. “The statement should clarify that adoption of the reform plan would end U.S. opposition to the appointment of new Appellate Body members. It also should express willingness to extend temporarily the terms of the current judges so that pending appeals can be completed.”


Deadlines loom for Trump administration for trade panel, tariffs on Chinese goods | The Washington Times


Twenty-six free trade and industry organizations urged President Trump in a letter to support proposed reforms to the WTO before its appeals tribunal loses its ability on Tuesday to settle trade disputes.


“America’s economic interests will be harmed if there is no internationally agreed upon mechanism for combatting unfair trade practices of other nations,” the groups told Mr. Trump. “Now is the time to put forward a specific, detailed U.S. proposal aimed at reforming the dispute settlement system so that global trade rules can be predictably enforced. The WTO dispute settlement system is worth saving.”


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