Geneva: India and Pakistan are going to battle it hard for a vacancy for judge at the WTO’s highest court for trade disputes- the Appellate Body-- after New Delhi nominated former trade envoy Ujal Singh Bhatia as its candidate. (Agencies)
As more candidates are expected to join the race for two vacancies at the Appellate Body that will be filled by the end of this year, India and Pakistan have already queered the pitch by nominating their recent trade envoys.
"I am pleased to inform you our decision to nominate Ujal Singh Bhatia as India’a candidate for the membership of the Appellate Body," India’s trade envoy Ambassador Jayant Dasgupta told his counterpart Ambassador Elin Ostebo Johansen, the chair for the WTO’s dispute settlement body.
"Bhatia," wrote Ambassador Dasgupta, "played an active role in the Dispute Settlement process both as a panelist and as a representative of India in dispute cases." Bhatia was India’s ambassador to the WTO during 2004 and 2010.
Earlier, Pakistan nominated its former trade envoy Manzoor Ahmad, who has worked closely with Islamabad’s trade ministry. He also served on dispute settlement panels and represented Pakistan in the World Customs Organization.
Ahmad is reckoned as a strong trade liberalizer, sources said. The Appellate Body is the highest legal limb of the WTO and is reckoned as jewel in the crown for resolving complex global trade disputes.
It is a standing body of seven persons who can uphold, modify or reverse the legal findings and conclusions passed by a dispute settlement panel, which is the lower court.
So far, the Appellate Body has passed rulings in about 200 cases ranging from brooms to sea turtles, and anti-dumping to distorting cotton subsidies. A V Ganesan, former commerce secretary, served on the seven-member bench until 2008.
During Ganesan’s term which lasted for almost eight years, the AB passed some landmark rulings in intellectual property rights, cotton subsidies, and anti-dumping measures.
The AB’s rulings on anti-dumping, particularly over its repeat condemnation of the controversial zeroing methodology to calculate anti-dumping margins, have been severely criticized by the United States.
Much would depend on how big is the race going to be from Asia as well as the support of the United States and China, sources added.
Geneva: India and Pakistan are going to battle it hard for a vacancy for judge at the WTO’s highest court for trade disputes- the Appellate Body-- after New Delhi nominated former trade envoy Ujal Singh Bhatia as its candidate.