Article

The Dispute Settlement Mechanism: Ensuring Compliance?

Alan O'Neil Sykes

in The Oxford Handbook on The World Trade Organization

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199586103
Published online November 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199586103.013.0026

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Politics & International Relations

 The Dispute Settlement Mechanism: Ensuring Compliance?

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Politics
  • International Relations
  • Political Economy
  • Politics and Law

GO

Show Summary Details

Preview

What is the purpose of the World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement mechanism (DSM)? This seemingly simple question has become a source of considerable academic debate. All commentators agree that one purpose of the system is to encourage compliance with WTO obligations, at least some of the time. Beyond this point of partial agreement, however, lie a variety of additional perspectives. This article investigates the extent to which the purpose of the DSM is to ensure compliance, pointing to differing views on whether the system is meant to facilitate efficient breach (and hence the limits of retaliation) or if it is meant to rebalance concessions following breach of obligations. It looks at the legal debate on the purpose of the DSM and explains how it allows members the option to violate WTO obligations for a measured ‘price’ that is tied to the harm done by the violation to the complainants. The article argues that the logic of the system can be best understood ‘as a way to facilitate efficient adjustment of the bargain over time’.

Keywords: compliance; World Trade Organization; dispute settlement mechanism; breach; concessions; obligations; bargain

Article.  11720 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; International Relations ; Political Economy ; Politics and Law

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.