U.S. lawmakers introduce resolution urging Trump to reaffirm WTO commitment
A bipartisan group of U.S. House lawmakers on Friday introduced a resolution urging the Trump administration to reaffirm the U.S.' commitment to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and pursue reforms to get the Appellate Body in working order.
"The United States should reaffirm its commitment as a member of the World Trade Organization, and work with other WTO members to achieve reforms at the WTO that improve the speed and predictability of dispute settlement (and) address longstanding concerns with the WTO's Appellate Body," the resolution reads.
The resolution, introduced by the Committee on Ways and Means' member Ron Kind and his colleagues, came as the dispute settlement body of the WTO, particularly its Appellate Body, is facing a potential crisis.
The Appellate Body functions as the de facto court of appeals at the WTO and is composed of seven members. At least three members are needed to hear an appeal.
As the nomination of new members has been blocked by the United States, the Appellate Body will be unable to hear new disputes after Dec. 10, when two of its three remaining members' terms expire.
"This resolution demonstrates that the House of Representatives supports the WTO as an institution, and instructs the administration to work with our allies to give the body the reforms it needs so desperately," Kind said.
"It's clear there are appellate body issues that need to be addressed and rules that need to be modernized for the 21st century," he said. "These changes are going to be written with or without our country's involvement -- it's up to us to decide who is holding the pen."
"At this time of crisis for the WTO, Congress must reaffirm its support for a strong rules-based global trading system," added Congresswoman Terri Sewell, a co-sponsor of the resolution.
"American workers, farmers, and manufacturers depend on an equitable and transparent WTO, and America must take a leading role in proposing thoughtful and equitable reforms," Sewell said.
"If we abandon the WTO, it will be harder for us to engage globally and drive the agenda on key issues shaping our future like e-commerce and privacy," echoed Congresswoman Suzan Delbene.