RIYADH — The General Council of the World Trade Organization (WTO) approved the selection of Saudi Permanent Representative to the WTO Ambassador Saqer Al-Moqbel as the chair of its Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) for the year 2024-2025. The council meeting held on March 22 took the unanimous decision.

Al-Moqbel is the first Arab permanent representative to the WTO to hold this position. Additionally, he will assume the presidency of the General Council for 2025-2026, the highest authority in the WTO. Al-Moqbel, who has 20 years of diplomatic and legal experience, currently chairs the Trade Policy Review Body and coordinates the Arab group, among other responsibilities.

The Dispute Settlement Body addresses issues referred by members regarding their commitments under the organization’s agreements. It deals with disputes that may arise with respect to any agreement contained in the Final Act of the Uruguay Round between WTO members.

The DSB has authority to establish dispute settlement panels, refer matters to arbitration, adopt panel, Appellate Body and arbitration reports, maintain surveillance over the implementation of recommendations and rulings contained in such reports, and authorize suspension of concessions in the event of non-compliance with those recommendations and rulings.

Saudi Arabia’s chairmanship reaffirms its leading role in the WTO, holding multiple positions including coordinating the Arab Group, chairing various committees like the Trade Policy Review Body, and heading the Working Group for Iraq’s accession.

It is noteworthy that the General Council is the WTO’s apex decision making body in Geneva. It meets regularly to carry out the functions of the WTO. It has representatives from all member governments and has the authority to act on behalf of the Ministerial Conference.

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