The Dispute Settlement Process of the WTO: A Normative Structure to Achieve Utilitarian Objectives

Univ. of Missouri - Kansas City Law Review, Vol. 79, No. 1, 2010

29 Pages Posted: 19 Jan 2011

See all articles by Srividhya Ragavan

Srividhya Ragavan

Texas A&M University School of Law

Manning Brian

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: January 18, 2011

Abstract

The paper posits that the World Trade Organization (WTO) has failed to efficiently promote mutually advantageous global relationships. The authors contend that the structure and the functioning of the Dispute Settlement Body have contributed to the failure of the WTO. The DSB’s approach to interpreting the WTO agreements has been normative, as opposed to a realistic. Consequently, decisions from the DSB have resulted in strict interpretation of WTO agreements without appropriately balancing member’s national realities. Thus, the overall goals of the organization have been compromised to reinforce existing global power structures rather than promote cooperative governance.

The authors examine two decisions of the DSB - one relating to agriculture issues and the second relating to the TRIPS agreement compliance - to assert their position. The operation of the DSB, the authors assert, results in three distinct disadvantages being, 1. reducing the line between domestic issues and market access issues; 2. failing to balance the rights and obligations of members; 3. allowing powerful nations to avoid WTO rules by simply not adopting them at the national level and, thus, works to preserve the existing bargaining imbalances.

The paper concludes by offering suggestions that can be incorporated into the settlement process in the future.

Suggested Citation

Ragavan, Srividhya and Brian, Manning, The Dispute Settlement Process of the WTO: A Normative Structure to Achieve Utilitarian Objectives (January 18, 2011). Univ. of Missouri - Kansas City Law Review, Vol. 79, No. 1, 2010 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1742710

Srividhya Ragavan (Contact Author)

Texas A&M University School of Law ( email )

1515 Commerce Street
Fort Worth, TX 76102
United States

Manning Brian

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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