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 Full text 
Tuesday, 26 November 2019 - Strasbourg Provisional edition

Crisis of the WTO Appellate Body (debate)

  Reinhard Bütikofer, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – Madam President, we in the EU are trade multilateralists. That’s in the EU’s DNA. The crisis of the WTO Appellate Body is a central part of a wider crisis of the rule of law paradigm in international trade relations.

Is it a dispute between the EU and the US? Well, unquestionably, the Trump administration has certainly caused the present impasse. But, at the origin of this escalation, I think, sits the fact that major players have been flouting WTO rules – for instance, anti—subsidy rules – with impunity and mistakes have also been made in the practice of the Appellate Body. That’s why, without reforms, the WTO is not going to be fit for purpose in the future.

The Walker proposals regarding the Appellate Body are good proposals, and they should be integrated with a wider reform of the WTO. We need not just some multilateralism, we need effective trade multilateralism.

Unfortunately, we have seen the development of a huge deal of mutual mistrust across the Atlantic in this regard. This is why I think we should send two very clear messages today from this debate: yes, we want to – and we have to – save the Appellate Body and its function, but we are also serious about reforming it. And on that basis, we call on all our partners to think again.

Last updated: 9 December 2019Legal notice