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India, Pak to vie for job at WTO`s highest court

Last Updated: Sunday, August 7, 2011 - 18:37

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

As more candidates are expected 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 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

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

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.


First Published: Sunday, August 7, 2011 - 18:37
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