The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) welcomes the European Union (EU) and Canada’s announcement to utilize international arbitration panels to resolve trade disputes under World Trade Organization (WTO) rules.

Following leader-level talks at the recent EU-Canada Summit, the EU and Canada have agreed to the creation of a new trade dispute resolution arrangement in place of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Appellate Body – responding to the continued gridlock in appointing judges to the WTO’s appeals court.

Under this agreement, trade disputes involving the EU or Canada will be submitted to specialist arbitration panels operating under rules modelled on those currently used by the Appellate Body.

Responding to the announcement, ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton AO said: “We welcome the leadership shown by the EU and Canada to utilize arbitration to resolve trade disputes should the WTO Appellate Body cease to function at the end of 2019.”

“We encourage other governments to follow this lead to preserve a rules-based, institutional approach to settling global trade tensions. Robust dispute resolution is vital to make trade work for people and planet” Mr Denton added.

In the face of rising trade tensions, ICC has consistently advocated for governments to take measures to preserve the functioning of the rules-based multilateral trading system – while taking sequential measures to upgrade WTO rules in response to the realities of today’s global economy.

Over recent months, ICC has been leading an inclusive consultation exercise to generate ideas on how best to reform the WTO system.  Launched at the World Bank Annual Meetings in October 2018, the Global Dialogue on Trade hosts open exchanges between multilateral institutions, think tanks and businesses from around the world to provide recommendations for upgrading and enhancing the functioning multilateral trade system.

Find out more about the Global Dialogue on Trade.

Read the recommendations from the first round of debate.