© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Maria Pagan, U.S. ambassador to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), attends an interview with Reuters in Geneva, Switzerland January 26, 2023. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo
By Emma Farge
GENEVA (Reuters) – It will be “hard” to reach a deal on fully restoring the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) arbitration powers by a major meeting set for February 2024 and the system can persist without it, the U.S. ambassador to the WTO told Reuters on Thursday.
Countries are reviewing a draft proposal deemed the most serious effort to date to reform the hobbled system which has been only partially functional since December 2019 due to U.S. blockages of judges to its top court the Appellate Body.
However, the proposal leaves blank a section on whether the court – which then U.S. President Donald Trump accused of over-reach when he introduced the block – will be revived.
Maria Pagan, the Deputy United States Trade Representative, said the talks had made “amazing” progress but thought it would be difficult to land a deal by the WTO’s next ministerial meeting in Abu Dhabi in February 2024, as negotiators currently hope.
“I think that would be hard to achieve,”…
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