Trade experts welcome news Australia has signed up to an alternative body to settle trade disputes while the WTO is paralysed.

“It demonstrates the stake that China has in a global trading system.”
Dr Armstrong said the challenge now was to get other countries on board, particularly Australia’s major trading partners Japan and South Korea as well as Indonesia and other countries in the region.
“That should be a diplomatic priority for Australia to encourage them to sign up,” he said.
Alan Oxley, a former chairman of the WTO’s predecessor body GATT, said the new body would provide a useful function for those countries that want to use it.
“A lot of it simply replaces what has gone on in the World Trade Organisation itself,” he said.
“It raises the question whether countries they take action against would go along with it.
“The whole process has become stalled in the WTO and there is a huge backlog of cases.”
Mr Oxley said China had been “reasonably diligent” complying with World Trade Organisation obligations, standing apart from other large developing nations. Enlisting those nations such as India would be key for the new body.
Australia’s two most significant trade disputes at present are with Canada over its treatment of wine exports and India over sugar subsidies.