Media News

WTO appoints Chinese judge, Taiwan drops objection

GENEVA, Nov 27 (Reuters) - The World Trade Organisation (WTO) appointed four appeal judges on Tuesday, including one Chinese, after Taiwan dropped its objections, easing tension between the two rivals and defusing a looming crisis.

Taiwan’s surprise objection last week blocked the work of the WTO’s dispute settlement body, which handles disputes worth billions of dollars.

After WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy and senior diplomats reassured Taiwan that the rights of all members were safeguarded by WTO rules, Taiwan lifted its objection.

“I think that assurance may have been important in getting this thing resolved,” WTO spokesman Keith Rockwell told a briefing.

A meeting of the dispute settlement body, originally scheduled for last Monday, went ahead on Tuesday.

The meeting was due to include calls by Brazil and Canada for a panel to investigate U.S. farm subsidies and a call by the United States for a panel to investigate the distribution of entertainment material such as films and books in China.

It also included the contested appointment of three women and one man to fill four forthcoming vacancies on the WTO’s appellate body.

One of the four nominees is Chinese lawyer Yuejiao Zhang, who would be China’s first member of the appellate court.

Appellate judges are required to be independent of any government, but Taiwan, without naming any of the candidates, had said it had concerns about the impartiality of one of them. (Reporting by Jonathan Lynn; editing by Andrew Dobbie)