Australian Grape & Wine (AGW) welcomed this week’s announcement from Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham, that Australia and 15 other members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) have agreed to establish an interim arrangement to bring appeals and solve trade disputes.
The WTO’s trade dispute functions had been in limbo since December 2019 as the United States continued to block the appointment of new member to the Appellate Body which considers trade dispute appeals.
Without new appointments to the Appellate Body there was effectively no appeals process, meaning existing WTO trade disputes would not have a mechanism for completion.
This interim arrangement provides a path around the impasse and was agreed between WTO members; Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the European Union, Guatemala, Hong Kong, China, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Switzerland, and Uruguay.
“It’s great to see the Australian Government and its trading partners, even during these difficult times, working to establish innovative ways of ensuring trade and the WTO process can continue in the interests of fair and collaborative trade,” said Tony Battaglene, chief executive of AGW.
“COVID-19 has placed great stress on the world trading system, but it is trade that will provide the springboard for Australia’s recovery. For a smaller nation like Australia, the WTOs rules base system and its trade dispute mechanisms are vital.”
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