Canada endorses plan to stop Trump administration from disrupting WTO: trade minister

Minister of International Trade Diversification Jim Carr takes part in a Canada 2020 panel discussion in Ottawa on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA – Canada’s trade minister is endorsing a European Union plan to prevent the Trump administration from paralyzing the World Trade Organization’s dispute-settlement body later this year.

Jim Carr tells The Canadian Press that the EU’s plan to set up a proxy version of the WTO’s Appellate Body has merit and deserves further examination.

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The United States is blocking appointments to fill vacancies at the Appellate Body, which acts as an appeal court of sorts for the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body.

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President Donald Trump, along with other members of his administration, has disparaged the Geneva-based WTO as a disaster for the U.S. – part of his broader wrecking-ball approach towards the international trading order.

If no approvals for new vacancies are forthcoming by December, the body could effectively shut down.

READ MORE: WTO countries meet in Ottawa to plan reform for trade body — without Trump

Canada has convened about a dozen like-minded countries – minus the U.S. and China – to try to reform the WTO, and Carr says the EU’s proposal to keep the Appellate Body functioning has been discussed there.

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