UPDATED 1:47 PM PT – Thursday, October 14, 2021
The Biden administration said it’s committed to the World Trade Organization, but reaffirms previous U.S. criticisms of its dispute settlement system.
On Thursday, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said Washington wants the WTO to succeed and is willing to come to an agreement on multiple disputes regarding trade and health proposals. The organization’s top dispute settlement panel has been stagnant since December 2019 after then-President Donald Trump blocked the appointment of new judges to the body.
Reforming the three pillars of the WTO requires a commitment to transparency. Strengthening transparency will improve our ability to monitor compliance, to negotiate rules, and to resolve our disputes.
— Ambassador Katherine Tai (@AmbassadorTai) October 14, 2021
Trump argued the panel’s rules work against America’s interests and said the U.S. would block any new actions until new rules were drafted. On Thursday, Tai largely enforced that stance.
“Every trade minister that I have heard from has expressed the view that the WTO needs reform. The organization has rightfully been accused of existing in a bubble, isolated from reality and slow to recognize global development. That must change,” stressed Tai.
Tai’s comments come ahead of a major meeting next month with the WTO, hoping to make reforms and broker its first multilateral trade deal since 2013.