Today, Norway and the European Union notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) that they have agreed on a interim appeal arbitration arrangement, based on existing WTO rules. In any future WTO dispute between the two parties, this arrangement will apply in the event the Appellate Body is unable to hear appeals, and will remain in effect until the Appellate Body is operational.
The need for bilateral arrangements like this stems from the fact that the United States is blocking new appointments of Appellate Body members in the WTO. If the blockage continues, the Appellate Body will not have sufficient members to hear appeals by 11 December 2019.
Norway’s first priority remains to ensure an effective functioning of the existing WTO Appellate Body. We have been, and are still, engaging conscientiously with other WTO Members to make this happen. In the meantime, it is helpful that an interim solution that mirrors the existing WTO appeal process can be put in place between interested WTO members.
Norway is open to having similar interim arrangements with other WTO Members.
See EU's statement here: https://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/press/index.cfm?id=2074