The European Union and China are jointly seeking an extension of the deadline to lodge an appeal in a World Trade Organization dispute panel ruling condemning EU duties on Chinese screws and bolts.
A document published on the WTO website made it clear the move was intended to ease the burden on the WTO’s overworked appellate division.
The two countries said in the note that they wanted the WTO’s dispute settlement body to agree to extend the deadline to make an appeal to March 25, and that neither party would lodge an appeal before March 22.
Under WTO rules, rulings by dispute panels come into force unless there is an appeal within 60 days of publication. The fasteners report was published on Dec. 3, setting the start of February as the effective deadline for appeal.
Such delays have occasionally been requested by WTO members in the past to make life easier for the appellate body, which has to rule on appeals within 90 days.
Last month Thailand and Philippines requested an extension of an appeal deadline in their dispute over cigarette duties.
The fasteners case was a victory for China in the first WTO dispute it had launched against the European Union and was a setback to the EU’s handling of imports from countries that it considers are not market economies.
The WTO’s dispute settlement body will review the joint request at its next meeting on Jan. 25. (Reuters)