Journal Article

The WTO Dispute Settlement System: The First Ten Years

William J. Davey

in Journal of International Economic Law

Volume 8, issue 1, pages 17-50
Published in print March 2005 | ISSN: 1369-3034
Published online March 2005 | e-ISSN: 1464-3758 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jielaw/jgi003
The WTO Dispute Settlement System: The First Ten Years

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This paper reviews the operation of the WTO’s dispute settlement system during its first ten years – from 1995 to 2004. After a brief overview of the system, the experience of several major users of the system – the United States, the European Communities, Canada, Japan, Brazil and India – is examined and an evaluation is made in terms of how they have fared in advancing their major trade policy concerns on a subject matter and a country-by-country basis. Particular attention is paid to certain bilateral relationships, such as that of the United States and the EC. The paper then evaluates the system’s success in settling disputes, in terms of whether disputes have been settled promptly, either through mutually agreed solutions or through implementation of panel/Appellate Body reports. The paper concludes that since its inception in 1995, the system has worked reasonably well in providing a reasonably effective mechanism through which WTO Members are able to resolve disputes, both at the consultation stage and following completion of formal dispute settlement proceedings. The system has not, however, achieved its goal of promptness in many cases.

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Subjects: Financial Law ; Public International Law ; Economics

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