GENEVA, Sept 29 (Reuters) - The United States surprised a meeting of the World Trade Organization's dispute settlement body on Friday by saying that, as adoption of a recent appeal ruling had not been subject to the usual "consensus" principle, any country could block it, trade sources said.
A U.S. representative told the meeting that appeals rulings needed to be backed by three judges. It argued that, in the recent case, the fact that two judges had already left the job by the time the report came out meant the report was not official unless all WTO members at the meeting recognised it as such, the sources said.
The U.S. move was seen as an attempt to gain leverage in its bid to reform the dispute settlement system, but could potentially be used to block any appeal ruling without the full complement of judges, the sources said.
Reporting by Tom Miles; Editing by Kevin Liffey