Establishment of a Dispute Tribunal in the WTO
Trade and Development Symposium: Perspectives on the Multilateral Trading System, International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD), e-book, February 2012
4 Pages Posted: 24 May 2012
Date Written: 2012
The WTO dispute settlement system has been its “crown jewel” during its first 16 years. Members have brought over 400 disputes, half of which have proceeded through to completion or settlement, making the WTO the most prolific international dispute resolution system in the world today. In this time of economic turbulence and uncertainty, it is important to the overall legitimacy and credibility of the WTO to ensure that the dispute settlement system remains strong and effective, able to meet the challenges of the future.
As a result of the Uruguay Round negotiations, the dispute settlement system was significantly modified with the creation of the Appellate Body; reverse consensus decisions for establishment of panels, adoption of panel and Appellate Body reports, and authorization of suspension of concessions; as well as specific timeframes for stages of the dispute settlement proceedings. However, many of the operational aspects of the ad hoc panel system were not significantly modified in the Uruguay Round. The panel system has developed by gradual evolution since the first working party was formed in the 1950s. The panel system has served the WTO well in the past, but is it time, after over 60 years’ experience with ad hoc panels, to consider a dispute tribunal for the WTO?
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