Antigua-Barbuda calls on WTO to reform dispute settlement body

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Antigua and Barbuda's Delegation to the World Trade Organisation: Colin Murdoch, Permanent Representative to the WTO and Joy-Marie King Director of International Trade and WTO Delegate

GENEVA, Switzerland — Antigua and Barbuda has officially intervened in the ongoing discussions concerning the reform of the Dispute Settlement Understanding of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

This intervention was made by the country’s permanent representative, Colin Murdoch, during the December sitting of the organisation’s General Council (GC) meeting, Antigua News Room reported.

In his presentation, Murdoch expounded on the twin island state’s experience with the limits and inequities of the system specific to the non-attainment of compliance to the rulings and recommendations of the WTO Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) concerning Dispute 285: United States-Measures Affecting the Cross-Border Supply of Gaming and Betting Services.

Murdoch further urged that the required revamping should not only take into to account the issues related to the appellate body appointments and scope but equally important the effective enforcement of rulings and recommendations of the DSB especially when the economic fall-out of non-compliance is catastrophic.

Additionally, Murdoch emphasised that the system out of necessity must preserve its compulsory nature, the automaticity of its rules and procedures, the impartiality and independence of the WTO panels and appellate body and the enforceability and binding nature of decisions rendered.

Given the experience of Antigua and Barbuda, any creep towards a power-based system or a system where a member has disproportionate control will severely undermine the value of the system. The General Council took note of the discussion.

The Antigua and Barbuda delegation included Joy-Marie King, director of international trade and WTO delegate within the ministry of foreign affairs.

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