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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. .
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.

WATCH: Trump says EU and U.S. will work to reform WTO, resolve steel and aluminum tariffs

Will Canada’s trade complaint against America work?
Will Canada’s trade complaint against America work?

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.

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.

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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.