That has prompted a former head of the organization to caution countries to be prepared for a future without the U.S. as a member of the WTO.
The warning came Monday from former WTO chief Pascal Lamy.
The dispute settlement system is due to deal with critical disagreements over whether China trades fairly.
U.S. officials have declined to discuss what would persuade them to lift their veto on judges, with no sign of a resolution before the next judge steps down in September.
“If a major power does not want to play by the rules of internationally disciplined trade, the others will have to react,” Lamy said.
“Plan A” for WTO members, the preferred option, would be to ask what the problem was and offer to fix it, he said.
Plan B would be to “make sure the system can work without them,” Lamy said, adding, “The rumour that there might be a plan B might help make sure plan A could work better.”
Canada has said that if the North American Free Trade negotiations fail, it can always fall back on the WTO agreement.
Now that’s in question. If the U.S. pulls out of the WTO, it could do anything it wants to trade with Canada.