Piyush Goel attends G 20 ministers WTO Dispute Settlement reforms meeting in Bali

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The Indian Commerce minister Piyush Goel in a tweet said that he participated in a discussion on WTO’s Dispute Settlement Reform that was convened by the United States Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai on the sidelines of the G20 ministerial meeting in Bali, Indonesia on 21 September 2022.

The 12th World Trade Organization (WTO) ministerial conference held in Geneva, Switzerland from 12-17 June 2022,   had promised to revive the dispute settlement body in the next two years.

WTO Dispute Settlement System 

WTO is a global body which was set up in 1995 to promote rule based trading systems in the world and it also settles trade related disputes between the member countries. 

A member country can complain against another member country to the WTO if it believes that the country is not following WTO rules regarding trade. 

The Dispute Settlement Mechanism is a two tier process in the WTO.

First, the member countries are encouraged to settle their dispute through consultation.

If this fails then the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body appoints a panel to look into the dispute.

The countries have the right to appeal against the ruling of the panel to an Appellate Body set up by the Dispute Settlement Body. The ruling of the Appellate body is binding on the countries of WTO.

Objection of the United States to the Dispute Settlement System

The United States government has blocked the appointment of members to the Appellate Body since 2019. The Appellate body structure is at present not working but the panel system is still functioning.

The United States wants to abolish the Appellate system of the WTO as it believes that it has become synonymous with litigation and has become prolonged, complicated and expensive.

However the developing countries are of the view that a two tier dispute settlement system is essential for the functioning of the WTO dispute settlement system.  

World Trade Organisation (WTO) 

  • It was set up on 1st January 1995 replacing the General Agreement on Tariff and Trade (GATT).
  • Its main purpose is to promote rule based trading systems in the world and it also settles trade related disputes between the member countries. 
  •  The headquarters of WTO is in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • There are 164 member countries.
  • Director General of WTO : Dr Ngozi -Okonjo-Iweala of of Nigeria
  • Report released by WTO : World Trade Report 

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