U.S. welcomes open WTO panel for beef hormone dispute
The Bush administration praised a World Trade Organization panel’s decision to open meetings for the beef hormone dispute to the public.
The decision marks the first time in the WTO’s history that such meetings will be made public.
“We have been advocating for open panel meetings at the WTO for years,” said U.S. Trade Representative spokeswoman Neena Moorjani in a statement Wednesday. “WTO rules already permit parties to make their statements public. Open hearings help to accomplish this.”
The parties to the hormones dispute — United States, Canada, and the European Union — requested that meetings with the panel be opened to members of the public. The panel granted this request Aug. 1.
The panel’s meeting with third parties will remain closed, the USTR said. The United States has advocated rule changes that would require open hearings for all WTO disputes.
Details on how the meetings will be made accessible to the public have yet to be finalized, although the panel has decided to broadcast the first meeting via closed-circuit television. The USTR said it will post any details on its Web site as they become available.