Saudi Arabia Selected to Chair WTO's Dispute Settlement Body for 2024-2025

The General Council of the World Trade Organization (WTO) has ratified the appointment of Ambassador Saqer Al-Moqbel, the Saudi Permanent Representative to the WTO, as the chair of its Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) for the term spanning 2024–2025.

The decision, reached unanimously during the council meeting convened on March 22, underscores Al-Moqbel's historic distinction as the first Arab permanent representative to the WTO to assume this pivotal role. Additionally, he is slated to ascend to the presidency of the General Council for the subsequent term, spanning 2025–2026, marking the highest echelon of authority within the WTO. Al-Moqbel, leveraging two decades of diplomatic and legal acumen, currently presides over the Trade Policy Review Body and orchestrates the activities of the Arab group, among other key responsibilities.

The Dispute Settlement Body is tasked with addressing issues brought forth by member states pertaining to their obligations under the WTO's agreements. It adjudicates disputes that may arise concerning any agreement outlined in the Final Act of the Uruguay Round between WTO members.

The DSB has a wide range of powers, including the ability to form panels to settle disputes, send cases to arbitration, adopt findings from panels, the Appellate Body, and arbitration, monitor the application of recommendations and decisions made in these reports, and allow the suspension of concessions when these are not followed.

Saudi Arabia's assumption of the chairmanship reaffirms its prominent stature within the WTO, manifested through its multifaceted engagements such as coordinating the Arab Group, chairing diverse committees like the Trade Policy Review Body, and spearheading the Working Group for Iraq's accession.

It is pertinent to note that the General Council constitutes the apex decision-making body of the WTO, headquartered in Geneva. Convening regularly, it executes the operational functions of the WTO, boasting representatives from all member governments and wielding the authority to act on behalf of the Ministerial Conference.

Read also: Saudi Arabia: UN Internet Governance Forum to be Hosted in Riyadh

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