Dispute Settlement Under PTAs: Political or Legal?
David L. H. Morgan
Melbourne Law School
CHALLENGES TO MULTILATERAL TRADE: THE IMPACT OF BILATERAL, PREFERENTIAL AND REGIONAL AGREEMENTS, Ross Buckley, Vai Io Lai, Laurence Boulle, eds., Kluwer, 2008
U of Melbourne Legal Studies Research Paper No. 341
The trend for PTAs to include formal legal processes for dispute settlement raises many interesting issues. This paper focuses on three central questions:
(a) To what extent can dispute settlement under PTAs be characterised as diplomatic and political rather than legal?
(b) Why is there an absence of appellate review in the dispute settlement mechanisms of most PTAs?
(c) Which forum(s) is (are) appropriate for resolving disputes under PTAs?
In reviewing these issues, the paper also considers some aspects of the interaction and relationship between the dispute settlement regimes under PTAs and that of the World Trade Organization (WTO). This consideration leads to another central question: Do the different dispute settlement regimes under PTAs and the WTO lead to a fragmentation of international trade law and is this something to be concerned about?
The theme underlying the analysis of these issues is the extent to which the bilateral (or plurilateral) nature of PTAs - by comparison with the multilateral nature of the WTO - affects dispute settlement. These questions are explored after examining how dispute settlement provisions in PTAs vary, the use that has been made of those provisions, and the drivers influencing the negotiation of modern PTAs.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 27
Keywords: Dispute settlement, WTO, formal legal processes, PTAs
JEL Classification: K33, K29Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: August 7, 2008
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