Informal process on matters related to the functioning of the Appellate Body.

General Council Meeting

December 9-11, 2019

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Statement by India

Informal process on matters related to the functioning of the Appellate Body.  

1. We appreciate the work done by Ambassador Walker over the last two years and for presenting this draft GC decision.

2. At the core of a functioning multilateral trading system is an effective dispute resolution mechanism.  In the last 24 years, the WTO’s two-stage, binding dispute settlement system has adjudicated hundreds of cases between WTO Members. Although not perfect, the dispute settlement system has led to meaningful reductions in unfair trade practices and has helped to strengthen the rules-based international trading system. As one of the leading users of the WTO’s dispute settlement system, the United States has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of this public good.

3. Unless the Membership acts in concert today to lift the block on AB vacancies, we are going to lose this public good which has served all of us so well. This would be a tremendous loss for the majority of WTO Members who lack the political and economic clout to enforce their rights and protect their interests in a system governed by power and not rules.

4. For the last two years, Members have engaged constructively and rigorously and put forth several proposals to address the concerns expressed by the United States with the functioning of the Appellate Body. We would also like to thank the Facilitator of the informal process for his efforts in trying to find common ground amongst a wide range of proposals and positions and for presenting us with the draft decision in document WT/GC/W/791.

5. With just one day to go before the curtains come down on the Appellate Body, India calls upon all WTO Members to fulfil their treaty-obligations under Article 17.1 and 17.2 of the DSU and adopt the draft decision put forth by the Facilitator with a view to urgently unblocking the vacancies in the Appellate Body.

6. As a responsible and concerned member of the multilateral trading system, India is willing to join the consensus in adopting the draft decision so that it leads to the end of the current impasse.

7. The choice that we make today will have lasting implications for the future of the rules-based trading system. We all have the collective responsibility to choose the long-term stability of the rules-based trading system over brinksmanship aimed at short-term gains. If we fail to act today to save the Appellate Body, history will not judge us kindly.

 

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