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India laments Appellate Body impasse

India, along with many countries, has expressed that it remains anguished over the eclipsing of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Appellate Body, the highest adjudicating arm of the dispute settlement system for resolution of global trade disputes, by the US. Trade envoy J S Deepak warned on December 6, “The cynical strangulation of the Appellate Body and the attack on the principles of non-discrimination and special and differential treatment”  have cast a pall of hopelessness on the WTO.

At an informal trade negotiations committee meeting, he added that “with 4 days to go before curtains come down on the WTO Appellate Body, it is clear that the binding, two-stage, independent dispute settlement mechanism that gave teeth and credibility to rule-based multilateral trading system is well and truly dead.” At least 163 countries are mulling over accepting a package of reforms to improve the functioning of the Appellate Body. But US is still stubbornly refusing to lift its blockage to fill six vacancies at the Appellate Body.