WTO's dispute settlement mechanism will be impaired with the departure of two of the three judges on its appellate body following completion of their term on 10 December 2019. The US has stalled appointments of members in the appellate body of WTO's dispute settlement system. WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo told a meeting of the full WTO membership on 9 December 2019 that he would launch more intensive, high-level consultations on how to resolve the longstanding impasse over the appointment of appellate body members.
  1. His intervention came after the World Trade Organization (WTO) members were unable to reach consensus on a proposal to address concerns regarding the functioning of the appellate body.
  2. The appellate body would no longer be in a position to consider new appeals after December 10 and will have a negative impact on its dispute settlement system and also the multilateral trading system as a whole.
  3. India has several critical trade disputes currently pending at the WTO. For India, the spotlight will now firmly be on Regional Trading arrangements like the ASEAN, Rohan Shah, India's Representative and Governor on the board of Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia said while commenting on the issue.
  4. He observed that India will look to pursue bilateral arrangements with the US and the EU.
  5. The interesting issue will be whether a Dispute Settlement Mechanism can be created within these arrangements, which will have the stature and enforceability of the WTO Dispute Settlement Mechanism.