The Uruguay Round and Dispute Resolution: Building a Private-Interests System of Justice

Kenneth W. Abbott

Arizona State University


Columbia Business Law Review, Vol. 1992, p.111, 1992

This article analyzes the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations (the “Round”) in the area of dispute resolution as the Round is entering what many hope to be its “final sprint.” A package of “improvements” relating to dispute resolution were put into effect “on a trial basis” following the December 1988 - April 1989 Midterm Review. Negotiators appended to the Draft Final Act a lengthy draft Understanding on dispute resolution. If the major substantive issues in the Round can be successfully resolved, GATT is poised to implement a substantial reform of its dispute resolution procedures.

This article utilizes the public/private theoretical framework in its analysis of the Round negotiations on dispute settlement. The public/private framework is the dichotomy between institutions and procedures designed to serve private interests and those designed to serve the public interest. In the international trade context, “public” refers to the community of trading nations, represented by GATT; “private” refers to the individual members of that community, the states that are the contracting parties of GATT. GATT is structured primarily along the lines of a private interests community. However, it can be argued that GATT actually possesses the central characteristic of a public interest community. This article suggests that the Understanding would institute a dispute resolution process consistent with the model of an affirmative, active private interests community. However, it would also prepare the way for the procedures and institutions that will be needed if GATT continues to evolve into a public interest community.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 39

Keywords: International law, GATT, dispute resolution

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Date posted: May 18, 2009  

Suggested Citation

Abbott, Kenneth W., The Uruguay Round and Dispute Resolution: Building a Private-Interests System of Justice (1992). Columbia Business Law Review, Vol. 1992, p.111, 1992. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1402843

Contact Information

Kenneth Wayne Abbott (Contact Author)
Arizona State University ( email )
Box 877906
Tempe, AZ 85287-7906
United States
480-965-5917 (Phone)
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