After the shutdown of the World Trade Organization’s appellate court, the European Union announced new measures to impose punitive tariffs on trade partners that block EU imports.

The European Commission proposed on 12 December giving the Union new powers in trade disputes.

With the WTO’s paralysis, countries could abuse sanctions to limit imports. In order to reform the organization, consensus from its 164 member countries is required.

The EU cannot afford being defenseless if there is no possibility to get a satisfactory solution within the WTO”, said the EU’s trade Commissioner Phil Hogan, adding that the proposal will enable the EU to act even when the WTO will not be able to issue rulings.

A WTO official said that the judges whose terms ended on 10 December 2019 would stay to complete three out of 13 pending appeals.

One is the dispute on Australia’s packaging of tobacco products, followed by Ukraine’s claim against Russia’s measures to limit import of railway equipment, and a conflict between the USA and Canada on paper trade.

New Europe / ABC Flash Point News 2019.

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