Full text 
Tuesday, 26 November 2019 - Strasbourg Revised edition

17. Crisis of the WTO Appellate Body (debate)
Video of the speeches

  Die Präsidentin. – Als nächster Punkt der Tagesordnung folgt die Aussprache über die Erklärung der Kommission zur Krise des WTO-Berufungsgremiums (2019/2918(RSP)).


  Cecilia Malmström, Member of the Commission. – Madam President, we are continuing on the WTO and a very serious situation, and that is why I welcome this debate. I would like to thank the European Parliament for taking the initiative to have a resolution on the Appellate Body crisis. It is very timely indeed, and it sends a powerful message to the world and to certain recipients, that the European Parliament is fully on board and that we speak with one strong voice here in Europe.

We are approaching, as you know, the moment when there will be only one Appellate Body member left. This is because of the US blockade of the arbitrators. This will undermine the whole WTO dispute settlement system, and, with the Appellate Body paralysed, there will be no access to binding independent two-step dispute settlement in the WTO.

This is not a technical matter. This is highly political. What is at stake is the rule of law in international trade relations. Either we have a system where rules can be enforced, where trade disputes can be submitted to adjudicators – even if we don’t always like the result – and where rulings of ad hoc panels can be appealed before standing appeal instance that gives a guarantee of quality and independence, or we will slip into a power-based economic relationship.

The European Union – and I think I can count you all in – have made a choice: we support a rule-based multilateral trading system, because that benefits our citizens, our companies, and it creates a predictable structure and a good environment to operate in and to flourish. It promotes growth and creates jobs, and it contributes to orderly international relations. And we want the United States to be part of this system. They helped to create the system, and they have also benefited quite a lot from it.

And, therefore, in the last two years, the European Union, together with other countries as well, have led the efforts to resolve the impasse relating to the Appellate Body. This is not a dispute between the EU and the US. This is a dispute between the 163 members of the WTO and the US. Everybody is dependent on this body, even if not all WTO members are frequent users of the system, they depend on a system where it functions.

We have previously made proposals to reform the Appellate Body in order to try to address some of the concerns that the US had voiced, because the Appellate Body could function in a better and more efficient way, that is true. And we have also initiated discussions in the General Council of the WTO to see how this impasse can be resolved. We have demonstrated an open, constructive approach, and we have also supported the work of the facilitator, Ambassador Walker, who leads the work in Geneva in this in order to try to unblock appointments to the body.

Alas, despite all these efforts, the Appellate Body will very likely come to a halt on 11 December, and that’s why we need to send this very clear message of determination. We will do what it takes to preserve a binding, independent, two-step system of dispute resolution in the WTO. So we will continue to support all the efforts that lead to an unblocking, and we will also continue after it has come to an end in December.

So we must prepare and deploy contingency measures that would preserve the right of the EU to the resolution of trade disputes in a binding, two-level, independent, impartial adjudication, even if appointments remain blocked. And that is why we are seeking an interim appeal of arbitration between trade partners as a stop-gap to ensure that our disputes continue to be adjudicated.

This is not an alternative system, creating a new normal without the US. It’s an ad hoc solution with certain partners, hopefully leading to a plurilateral system that can work to create some clarity and some predictability for our companies. We hope, of course, that this will only be temporary. We owe that to our companies and to our citizens, because they are the ones benefiting from this system.

So you can trust in the Commission – and here we are very grateful for the strong support from the European Parliament, as well as all the Member States – to keep on fighting until the end of the year to see if anything can be done to unblock the situation. And if not, in December the Commission will continue to work with other countries and allies, in order to find a – hopefully – permanent solution to this crisis next year.


  Christophe Hansen, on behalf of the PPE Group. – Madam President, the EPP group has called for this debate – and I would like to thank all the other groups, and especially our Chair, Bernd Lange, for their support – to sound the alarm over the future of the international rules-based trade order, one of the pillars of post—war peace and prosperity. Without the capstone of the Appellate Body, this pillar is now at risk of collapse, effectively hurtling us back to the times when the law of the jungle dominated international trade relations.

When, last Friday, the US blocked the appointment of two new judges to the Appellate Body for the 29th consecutive time in two years, they brought us one step closer to the brink. Let’s not forget that the WTO has benefited all members of the WTO – not least China and the US. It’s only fair to say, then, that all members carry the responsibility to support the system that has allowed global rivals to compete with a single rulebook, to the benefit of all.

It is our duty to hope for the best, yet prepare for the worst. We cannot but lend our unequivocal support to the Commission’s attempts to establish interim arrangements. A negotiated settlement within the context of the Walker Process will always be our priority, but better to be safe than sorry.


  Bernd Lange, im Namen der S&D-Fraktion. – Frau Präsidentin, Frau Kommissarin! Zunächst möchte ich mich bei Ihnen bedanken – das ist ja wohl unsere letzte Plenarsitzung, die wir hier zusammen haben – für die offene und gute Zusammenarbeit. Wir hatten zwar nicht immer die gleiche politische Position, manchmal war es auch kontrovers. Aber herzlichen Dank für die konstruktive Zusammenarbeit und alles Gute für Sie weiterhin.

Die wundervolle Joni Mitchell hat in einem Song mal formuliert: Du weißt nicht, was du hast, bis du es nicht mehr hast. Und da ist viel dran. Nebenbei: Es gibt viele schöne Songs von ihr, aber diese Formulierung passt natürlich genau auf diese Tatsache. Du weißt nicht, was du hast, bis du es nicht mehr hast, bis es nicht mehr da ist. Und das gilt natürlich auch für die Vereinigten Staaten. Wir haben doch eine Entwicklung des globalen Handels, seit 1948 hat sich das etwa verfünfunddreißigfacht. Und das konnte doch nur passieren, weil wir ein regelbasiertes System hatten. Und die Instanz, das auch durchzusetzen, ist doch genau dieses Berufungsgericht gewesen. Davon haben alle profitiert, nebenbei auch – in 120 Verfahren – die Vereinigten Staaten. Nebenbei: Die haben auch häufig recht bekommen, meistens recht bekommen.

Wenn man jetzt dieses Berufungsgericht infrage stellt, wo etwa 70 % der Entscheidungen getroffen werden, dann legt man die Lunte an das ganze System. Und dann wird es in der Tat darum gehen: Wird law of the jungle gelten oder können wir rule of law verteidigen? Und darum muss es gehen – entweder dadurch, dass wir eine Alternative finden, oder dadurch, dass wir nach wie vor die USA an den Verhandlungstisch bringen. Das ist auch der Aufruf des Parlaments: Lassen Sie uns weiter für eine Reform des Berufungsgerichts verhandeln, um dieses System zu erhalten und ein regelbasiertes Handelssystem global zu etablieren!


  Marie-Pierre Vedrenne, au nom du groupe Renew. – Madame la Présidente, Madame la Commissaire, l’Organisation mondiale du commerce traverse une crise sans précédent.

Tout comme mes collègues, je suis extrêmement préoccupée par la situation de l’Organe d’appel du règlement des différends. Dans quatorze jours, cet organe cessera de fonctionner parce que les États-Unis refusent de nommer de nouveaux juges. Avec le blocage du mécanisme de règlement des différends, le système multilatéral est frappé et affaibli. L’Union européenne, la Commission mais aussi le Parlement européen ont toujours soutenu le multilatéralisme et un commerce international basé sur des règles. L’OMC est la pierre angulaire de ce système. L’Union européenne doit utiliser tous les moyens à sa disposition pour empêcher cette paralysie. La Commission doit continuer d’explorer d’autres options. Vous l’avez fait avec la proposition d’accord provisoire avec certains partenaires. Les plans existent et les idées sont là; il faut maintenant agir concrètement et convaincre.

Je suis également inquiète de lire, depuis quelques jours dans la presse, que les États-Unis menacent désormais de bloquer l’adoption du budget de l’OMC. Les États-Unis de Donald Trump s’acharnent sur l’OMC. Cette nouvelle menace s’ajoute au blocage de règlement d’appel et démontre une volonté d’enterrer définitivement le système multilatéral. Dans ce contexte de crise, nous aussi, chers collègues parlementaires, avons notre rôle à jouer. Nous défendons le multilatéralisme et nous devons continuer à relayer notre position auprès de nos collègues parlementaires d’autres pays. L’action de chacun sera déterminante. Nous devons faire preuve de la plus grande vigilance et poursuivre nos efforts sans relâche pour trouver une solution.


  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.


  Helmut Scholz, im Namen der GUE/NGL-Fraktion. – Frau Präsidentin, Frau Kommissarin! Die Sorge aller Kolleginnen und Kollegen hier ist doch zutiefst begründet. Dass wir heute quasi zu Grabreden für das Berufungsgericht der Welthandelsorganisation zusammenkommen, ist aber eben auch das Ergebnis einer fehlerhaften Architektur der WTO, und einige Kritikpunkte der USA treffen zu und sind nicht neu. Wären die EU und andere WTO-Mitgliedstaaten z. B. auf die Obama-Regierung offener zugegangen, hätte dies heutigen Problemen und der drohenden Aushöhlung des multilateralen Handelssystems entgegenwirken können.

Die Trump-Administration lehnt jetzt das ganze Grundprinzip einer Berufungsinstanz ab. Es wird versucht, das Recht des Stärkeren zu verankern. Da kann und darf die EU nicht mitgehen. Da bin ich voll bei Ihnen.

Eine umfassende Reform der internationalen Gerichtsbarkeit ist dennoch notwendig. Wir haben es nicht geschafft, der Globalisierung einen Justizrahmen zu geben, der auch die Interessen von Beschäftigten und den Schutz der Umwelt gewährleistet. Was bedeutet denn E-Commerce für die Kunden? Welche globale Institution gewährleistet eine Entschädigung im Schadens- oder Betrugsfall, und wer schlichtet das?

Wir brauchen einen internationalen Rechtsrahmen. Das Regelwerk der WTO reicht jedoch nicht mehr aus, die Komplexität des Zusammenlebens, des Handelns und des Arbeitens zu erfassen. Wenden wir doch die Kompetenzen an, die im UN-System aufgebaut wurden, zum Beispiel bei der Unctad, der IAO und anderen.

Nutzen wir die aktuelle Krise, um eine neue rechtliche Lösung zu entwickeln, die die Menschen und die Umwelt nachhaltig vor negativen Auswirkungen der Globalisierung schützt und klare, durchsetzbare Regeln und Pflichten für Unternehmen und Investoren beschreibt und durchsetzt.


  Jörgen Warborn (PPE). – Madam President, as clearly stated in this resolution, it is imperative that we do not let the Appellate Body deteriorate on 11 December. It is the ultimate guardian of the multilateral rules—based trade system. Many are now working to find a solution, and I know that the Commission is doing its utmost both to save the Appellate Body and to negotiate a parallel interim solution with like—minded countries. Both of these measures are, of course, important.

However, I’d like to underline the role and responsibility of parliamentarians, and therefore I reach out to American Congressmen and women. While the President of your country might not want to discuss a solution, I hope that you do. So let us engage on our level as parliamentarians and do what we can to protect the interests of our citizens, because they will lose on tariffs and trade wars. We need to take our responsibilities to exert influence in every way we can, through parliamentary diplomacy and by putting pressure on the executive powers.

With this resolution, we in the European Parliament express our firm position, which is to defend the Appellate Body and the multilateral rules-based trade system. I hope that the members of Congress will do the same.


  Kathleen Van Brempt (S&D). – Madam President, international trade and, more specifically, fair and rule—based trade is essential for human and sustainable development. Therefore, a well-functioning body Appellate Body is crucial for our rule—based multilateral trading system, and it makes sure that the law of the jungle does not apply to all trading partners, whether they are small or large.

Commissioner, as you can see, there’s a broad consensus in this Parliament on this topic. Let there be no doubt: for our political group it’s essential to find a solution within the WTO.

However, we should not be naive. There’s a chance – and it’s up to our people to make sure that we can get a good look at it – that the US will not engage constructively in finding a solution. The Trump administration wants to use the Appellate Body crisis to change some of their long-standing irritations about the way the WTO functions. This is quite a cynical position of the US today. Think about the Airbus case and their tariffs, but also about the new case that they are bringing against India. It seems that President Trump does not want to have the cake, but still eat the cake.

However, having a workable Appellate Body can also be of benefit for the United States, but if the States are not willing to unblock the appointment of the judges, we should stand ready to look for alternative solutions and stand firm on these issues.

I’m quite sure that we’ll also find a united Parliament to do so. International trade is much too important to be managed by the law of the jungle, instigated by large trading partners taking advantage of smaller ones. And Europe should do everything in its power to defend that fair and inclusive trade.


  Karin Karlsbro (Renew). – Fru talman! Det ligger i EU:s främsta intresse att göra det yttersta för att lösa den konflikt som pågår.

WTO skapades för att vara en garant för en regelbaserad multilateral handel. Just nu hotas emellertid detta system i grunden. I linje med president Trumps ”America first”-politik blockerar USA sedan en tid tillbaka tillsättandet av ledamöter i WTO:s tvistlösningsorgan. Om ledamöterna inte tillsätts inom de kommande veckorna riskerar det inte bara att handlingsförlama WTO. I själva verket riskerar det att begrava hela idén om en regelbaserad handel.

Därför måste vi också fortsätta att stå upp för värdet av att vi handlar med varandra på ett regelbaserat sätt. Nu är det viktigare än någonsin att EU inte svarar med samma mynt, utan står för sina principer. Vi sätter handeln först, en rättvis och hållbar handel för vår egen skull, för välfärdens skull, för jobbens skull och för klimatets skull – faktiskt för världens skull. Vi vill nämligen vara med och fastställa regler för den hållbara ekonomin och för den digitala ekonomin som har framtiden för sig.

Låt oss nu göra vårt allra bästa för att prioritera och konstruktivt lösa denna kris innan det är för sent, för det börjar bli väldigt ont om tid.


  Ellie Chowns (Verts/ALE). – Madam President, we need a rules—based multilateral trading system. Greens want fair rules of the trade game: the rule of law, not the law of the jungle where the big beasts ride roughshod over everybody else.

The WTO is certainly not perfect, and Greens have long campaigned for WTO reform to address its many flaws. But the way forward – achieving reform – requires countries to work together: dialogue, not confrontation. And the actions of the USA in causing the paralysis of the WTO’s dispute settlement system and threatening to block its budget is not the action of a country engaging constructively to solve multilateral problems.

Frankly, it is the action of a country throwing its weight around. We cannot allow 11 December to be the day that the US unilaterally tears up the rule book. That’s in nobody’s interests. The EU now risks being squeezed between the US and China, both focused on narrow, national self—interest rather than the common good. So multilateralism is very much under threat.

I’m glad that Trade Commissioner—designate Phil Hogan has indicated that WTO reform will be a top priority for him in his work next year. For now, the EU needs to do everything possible to find a negotiated solution to the Appellate Body crisis. And looking ahead, we need a renewed, a reformed multilateral trading system, one based on shared commitment to rules, global solidarity and a commitment to ensuring that trade works towards our shared climate goals.


  Emmanuel Maurel (GUE/NGL). – Madame la Présidente, je partage l’attachement des collègues au multilatéralisme, mais il ne faudrait quand même pas exagérer. L’Organisation mondiale du commerce n’est pas un organisme idéal qui a toujours promu le juste échange, ce n’est pas vrai. Il est vécu par beaucoup de travailleurs et de citoyens comme le fer de lance de la mondialisation libérale, avec ses prescriptions, ses dogmes et son incitation perpétuelle à la dérégulation et à l’intensification des échanges commerciaux. Il faut aussi pouvoir dire la vérité.

En même temps, le problème est concret et je partage votre émotion. C’est vrai qu’avec M. Trump, de la même façon que l’OTAN est en état de mort cérébrale, nous avons l’impression que l’OMC est lui aussi en état de mort cérébrale. Il faut se battre sur l’appel, d’autant plus que nous, Européens, respectons les règles de l’OMC, tandis que tous nos partenaires les enfreignent. Évidemment, il faut un organe d’appel et de règlement des différends.

Cependant, ne nous berçons pas d’illusions et, je vous en conjure chers collègues, ce n’est pas parce que nous réglerons ce problème qu’il ne faudra pas faire l’économie d’une réforme radicale de l’Organisation mondiale du commerce.


  Sven Simon (PPE). – Madam President, the dispute settlement mechanism of the World Trade Organization was a milestone in multilateral trade negotiations in 1995. The mechanism has adjudicated hundreds of cases between member countries (and Bernd mentioned it), including more than 120 brought by the United States against trade-distorting measures of other nations. It has helped to strengthen the rules-based international legal order with, by the way, the United States as one of its major beneficiaries. Today, this legal order is under threat. The veto of the US administration – and it did not start with Trump, it started already with Obama – appointing any new judges to the Appellate Body will effectively block its capability to resolve disputes. Of course, we recognise the legitimate concerns of our American partners: it is true that the Appellate Body must not overstep its mandate. But disabling it through obstruction is short sighted. For that reason I call on the Commission to intensify its engagement in order to unblock the appointments procedure as a matter of priority, like we should do in this House.

History is full of examples of trade disputes escalating into armed conflict. Trade wars led to real wars. Let us today unite in support of the rules-based trading order in support of the WTO. I’m very happy that even the Greens now fight for the WTO, which you did not for so many years; you should have done earlier and in support of this motion.


  Inma Rodríguez-Piñero (S&D). – Señora presidenta, señora Malmström, la propuesta de Resolución que ahora estamos debatiendo fue apoyada por una amplísima mayoría en la Comisión INTA ayer. Esa mayoría la vamos a ver reflejada el jueves cuando se vote en el Pleno. Y es muy importante que se oiga una voz única, fuerte, firme, de todos los grupos políticos haciendo esa necesaria defensa del multilateralismo de la Organización Mundial del Comercio y, desde luego, del Órgano de Apelación. Porque no puede haber multilateralismo y no puede haber un comercio basado en reglas si no existen mecanismos de resolución de conflictos. Y, desde luego, con una segunda instancia.

Yo reconozco los enormes esfuerzos que ha hecho la Comisión Europea y que están haciendo nuestros socios, pero es verdad que no han sido prósperos. Es verdad que nos enfrentamos con un político que lo que quiere es destruir en lugar de construir. Porque cuando una cosa es mejorable, no se destruye sino que se reforma. Y es verdad que el Órgano de Apelación, igual que la OMC en su conjunto, necesita una reforma. Pero la reforma se consigue cuando todos defendemos el mismo fin y trabajamos para buscar las mejores soluciones.

Pero desde luego, no parece que vaya a cambiar, desgraciadamente, la posición de Donald Trump. Para mí ha resultado muy significativo, desgraciadamente en términos negativos, que no se haya conseguido tampoco una declaración escrita de la última Cumbre del G20, celebrada en Nagoya. Y es muy triste que, efectivamente, no fuera el secretario norteamericano de Comercio a la reunión.

Por tanto, tenemos que ponernos en el peor escenario. Y eso requiere el plan B. Yo creo que la senda que ha marcado el embajador Walker es un buen mecanismo, pero es fundamental el liderazgo de la Unión Europea.

Y, presidenta, permítame tres segundos para felicitar a la comisaria por toda su trayectoria, por el trabajo que ha realizado en estos cinco años. Ha sido un honor trabajar con usted, colaborar en la defensa de los derechos humanos, en el ámbito de la política comercial y de la igualdad de género. Lamento mucho que acabe esta etapa y le deseo lo mejor en la próxima.


  Liesje Schreinemacher (Renew). – Madam President, thank you, Commissioner Malmström, for being here today to discuss this matter – a very urgent matter, as a matter of fact, because, as you know, in two weeks the WTO Appellate Body will cease to function – a serious hit to our multilateral rules-based trade system. And although I fully agree with the United States that reforms of the WTO and its Appellate Body are much needed, I do not see how such a change could ever occur by simply blocking the appointment of new Appellate Body members or by refusing to engage on concrete proposals.

I therefore strongly support the continuous work of the European Commission to keep this topic high on the agenda in their talks with the US, as well as the informal process now facilitated by Ambassador Walker. And on a personal note, I would like to thank you, Commissioner, in your final debate here, for all your work over the past years to keep our trade free and fair.


  Anna Cavazzini (Verts/ALE). – Frau Präsidentin! Ja, die Strategie von Präsident Trump ist einfach total perfide.

Noch im Oktober machte er sich das WTO-Urteil über Airbus zunutze. Die USA sind wirklich das Land, das die WTO-Streitbeilegung am allermeisten zum eigenen Vorteil nutzt. Jetzt zerstört Donald Trump das Schiedssystem ganz bewusst und sägt damit immer weiter am multilateralen System.

Aber ich glaube, er schadet sich mit dieser Strategie am Ende selbst. Schon jetzt sind viele Unternehmerinnen und Unternehmer, viele Landwirte, viele Verbraucherinnen und Verbraucher in den USA die Leidtragenden. Schon jetzt machen sie Druck auf Trump, seinen Handelskrieg und um seine nationalistischen Alleingänge in der WTO zu beenden.

Die EU muss verhandeln und muss das multilaterale System verteidigen. Vielen Dank noch mal an dieser Stelle an die Kommission. Aber vergessen wir nicht: Das Streitbeilegungssystem der WTO – ob es nun funktioniert oder nicht – wird dazu genutzt, die WTO-Regeln durchzusetzen, und diese Regeln brauchen eine tief greifende Reform. Die WTO-Regeln müssen die Ziele von Klimaschutz und nachhaltiger Entwicklung unterstützen. Im Moment begrenzen sie meist den politischen Spielraum, den Regierungen für ihre Sozial- und Umweltpolitik brauchen.

Die Klimakrise und die nachhaltige Entwicklung müssen im Mittelpunkt der Bemühungen der EU um eine Reform der globalen Handelsregeln stehen. So können und so müssen wir den Multilateralismus verteidigen.


  Danuta Maria Hübner (PPE). – Madam President, I know it is difficult at this stage to say something that has not been said yet, but let’s try. I would like to start by saying that the ‘America First’ strategy, announced in 2016 by the American President has aimed at abolishing the global rules-based trading framework, a key element of the global order of which WTO is an essential pillar. The crisis of the WTO Appellate Body is part of this destructive political process, and we should strongly disagree with all those who say that we do not need a WTO Appellate Body.

Preserving the global trade system should continue to be an important EU priority for the coming years. We also know that to preserve implies in this case the need to overhaul the WTO, and we need to stick to an EU comprehensive approach towards the modernisation of all main functions of the WTO. We should also support the Walker process and we should avoid spending years on reflecting about the past. We have to move on. We need to involve other countries with whom we have converging approach in the WTO reform.

I would also like to support the effort of the European Commission to temporarily replace the missing dispute-settlement mechanism with an interim bilateral solution like the agreements with Norway and Canada. But it goes without saying that this should not slow down reform efforts. To finish: a big thank you once again to Commissioner Malmström.


  Nicola Danti (S&D). – Signora Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, signora Commissario, nonostante la richiesta di oltre 100 Stati membri dell'Organizzazione mondiale del commercio, il 10 dicembre l'Organo di appello di risoluzione delle controversie smetterà di funzionare e, con esso, verrà assestato un duro colpo alla credibilità di queste istituzioni.

Dietro una vicenda apparentemente molto tecnica si nasconde uno scontro tutto politico e ideologico: lo scontro tra i sostenitori, anche se critici, del sistema multilaterale e coloro che invece intendono sgretolare la governance internazionale costruita faticosamente in molti anni.

Senza dubbio l'OMC non funziona. Da tempo l'agenda multilaterale è pressoché ferma, con la conseguente moltiplicazione degli accordi bilaterali. Ma la decisione di bloccare un organo essenziale per il funzionamento dell'OMC da parte dell'amministrazione Trump è parte di una politica che vuole un sistema di relazioni internazionali basate sulla legge del più forte e del protezionismo ideologico.

Ma prestiamo attenzione a questa deriva pericolosa, poiché rischia di portare indietro le lancette dell'orologio della storia. La complessità dei processi di globalizzazione necessita di regole efficaci ma condivise, a tutela dei cittadini che invocano processi decisionali più democratici e trasparenti e a tutela delle imprese che chiedono norme e standard globali uniformi per accrescere scambi ed export.

O il commercio internazionale contribuirà a rendere le nostre società più giuste e le nostre economie più sostenibili o diventerà solo una leva di strumentalizzazione politica ad uso e consumo del populista di turno.


  Karen Melchior (Renew). – Fru formand! Jeg står her i dag som medlem af Europa-Parlamentet, fordi jeg tror på handel som en forenende kraft i verden. Og jeg står her også i dag, fordi jeg tror på retsstaten, jeg tror på love, og jeg tror på institutioner. WTO er en institution, en organisation, som er helt fantastisk og enestående i verden, næsten på niveau med Den Europæiske Union. Den giver os mulighed for at handle sammen efter fælles regler, men hvis vi har fælles regler, så skal vi også sørge for, at disse fælles regler bliver levet op til. Det er derfor, vi har panelerne, og det er derfor vi har appelinstansen. Derfor er det kritisk, det er principielt, når vi ikke længere har appelinstansen efter den 11. december.

Jeg er glad for, at vi fra EU tager dette meget alvorligt, og at Kommissionen forhandler om at finde en løsning. Fordi som medlemmer af denne institution, som ofte er kritiseret - Europa-Parlamentet og Den Europæiske Union - da ved vi, at man ikke får reformer af at afskaffe institutionerne, men at man får dem ved at engagere sig i forhandlinger omkring reformen. Ingen institution er perfekt - hverken EU eller WTO - men perfektion kommer ved at prøve og prøve igen og ikke ved at give op. Og tusind tak til Cecilia Malmström for din tilstedeværelse i aften og i de sidste fem år som handelskommissær. Det er for mig et GD, som står mig meget nært. Da jeg var praktikant i Kommissionen, var jeg praktikant i den juridiske tjeneste i netop handelsafdelingen.


  Anna-Μichelle Asimakopoulou (PPE). – Madam President, Madam Commissioner, we are facing a reality, and the reality is that in two weeks the Appellate Body is not going to be able to operate because it will have less than three judges. Ambassador Walker has put forward workable proposals and already interim arbitration solutions are in place with Canada and Norway. We recognise, of course, that the Commission has really made some very concrete proposals about WTO reform, not just on dispute settlement but on other matters – on rule-making and enforcement.

As we move toward the ministerial conference in Kazakhstan next summer, I think we need to face a truth, and the truth is that this is an enduring and a very deep crisis in the WTO. You asked us to send a strong message and, with this resolution, we will do so. We send a message to the Commission and to the WTO members that efforts need to continue in order to unblock the Appellate dispute and the appointment of judges. But I think we also need to remember, and to remind European citizens, that the WTO has been, with all its shortcomings, a very effective guardian to date of our rules—based multilateral trading system. It’s safeguarded order and fairness and given us a level playing field. And these are things which we take for granted.

I’d just like to close by saying that the paralysis in the Appellate Body is not inevitable, even though we treat it as such. Maybe we need to remember that the very existence of WTO is not inevitable either.


  Miapetra Kumpula-Natri (S&D). – Madam President, it is very important for the EU to boost exports and jobs, and that we have free, fair and reciprocal trade relations with the rest of the world. Trade policy is a great example of how important the EU is in the multilateral order. That’s why it’s very unfortunate that the WTO Appellate Body is set to become dysfunctional in two weeks’ time. But we should have a look at and bear in mind the context in which the US is blocking the appointment of the new judges and why.

The WTO ruling, as it functions today, has not prevented China from using massive state aid and forced technology transfer to compete unfairly also with us, the EU. The Commission proposal to set up a new global trade court – together with countries such as China – to replace the WTO Appellate Body, would then be problematic. Wouldn’t we then undermine the important joint efforts – in which the US and Japan are with us – in the reforming of the WTO? A new court could easily become a permanent solution and lessen efforts in the WTO reform. Let’s rather have temporary bilateral arrangements on the WTO ruling, like deals we have with Canada and Norway already.


Spontane Wortmeldungen


  Clara Aguilera (S&D). – Señora presidenta, comisaria, de nuevo me gustaría intervenir en este debate, que es un debate sin duda importante, en el que ha habido una gran unanimidad por parte de todos los grupos de la Cámara —lo que, para tratarse de un tema de la OMC y de cuestiones de comercio internacional, ya es mucha unanimidad—.

Como ha dicho uno de los colegas anteriores, eliminar el sistema de apelación es acabar con el comercio internacional, sin duda. La OMC tiene una grave crisis —una crisis profunda— y eliminar este sistema es un aldabonazo a la propia OMC.

Pero, queridos colegas, a la sociedad, que no conoce en profundidad estos temas, no le preocupa en absoluto, y eso es un problema grave, porque, al final, lo que tenemos que hacer es resolver la situación de la Organización Mundial del Comercio y evitar el crecimiento de los sistemas bilaterales. Espero que aprovechemos la oportunidad —es una gran oportunidad la que tenemos— para generar más confianza en el comercio internacional y hacer una reforma del sistema jurisdiccional en la OMC.


  Gilles Lebreton (ID). – Madame la Présidente, le 10 décembre, l’Organe d’appel des règlements des différends de l’OMC sera paralysé. En effet, il ne comprendra plus qu’un seul juge, car les États-Unis bloquent le renouvellement des six autres.

Cette crise est inquiétante, mais elle est aussi une chance à saisir. Nous devrions en profiter pour tenter de reconstruire le commerce mondial sur des bases plus saines. Le modèle du libre-échangisme devrait être beaucoup plus encadré pour passer, en quelque sorte, de l’enfance à l’âge adulte. Tout échange commercial devrait être subordonné au respect de règles sociales, sanitaires et environnementales minimales, et les circuits courts devraient être systématiquement favorisés. Tentons de bâtir ce modèle avec tous les États qui voudront bien nous suivre. Ce n’est que dans ce contexte que la réforme de l’Organe d’appel des règlements aura un sens.


(Ende der spontanen Wortmeldungen)


  Cecilia Malmström, Member of the Commission. – Madam President, the restoration of the dispute settlement system in the WTO is and will remain the priority of the European Commission. We want a system that works for all members, and that includes all members, including the US. To that end, we are ready to talk to friends and partners with an open mind. But of course we cannot compromise on the basics of the system. It has to be independent, it has to be a two-level system and it has to be binding. The contingency measures that we are doing are contingency measures, nothing else. They are the second best. We are preparing for them and we must do everything to preserve our right if the appointments remained blocked, and that is very likely. But we will continue to work here.

Many of you have said the WTO needs reform. Absolutely! It does need reform in all areas: in the daily work when it comes to transparency and reporting, in the decision-making process when it comes to dealing with new issues such as e-commerce, where we’re doing some work as well, and updating the rule book to address issues such as massive industrial subsidies, forced technology transfer, and so on. And here the European Union is working very hard, sometimes with other allies and friends, to address all these issues, and we will do this and we will continue to do this during the spring and the month leading up to the next ministerial conference. We will not solve all issues by then, but we will, hopefully, make some progress. We cannot let the Appellate Body and the reforms be hostage. We need to do both things but not wait for all the reforms to be concluded before the US lift their blocking. But the message that you sent here today, unanimously, is very much appreciated. I think that will be heard outside this plenary as well, not only in Europe.

I want to thank the Committee on International Trade (INTA), the rapporteur and the Chair for taking this broad initiative, and I know we can count on the European Parliament for continued reform and to be a strong player in the WTO when it’s reformed but also on its implementation.

Finally, let me thank the plenary and the brave Members who are still here for many debates. This is probably, in all likelihood, my last debate, so thank you very much for the good times, the constructive talks that we’ve had and for your hard work on these issues.


  Die Präsidentin. – Gemäß Artikel 132 Absatz 2 der Geschäftsordnung wurde ein Entschließungsantrag eingereicht.

Die Aussprache ist geschlossen.

Die Abstimmung findet am Donnerstag, 28. November 2019, statt.

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