Mapping of Dispute Settlement Mechanisms in Regional Trade Agreements - Innovative or Variations on a Theme?

Staff Working Paper ERSD-2013-07, WTO Economic Research and Statistics Division, Geneva

58 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2013

See all articles by Claude Chase

Claude Chase

World Trade Organization

Alan Yanovich

World Trade Organization (WTO)

Jo-Ann Crawford

World Trade Organization (WTO)

Pamela Ugaz

University of Geneva

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 14, 2013

Abstract

Regional trade agreements (RTAs) have become an indelible feature of the international trading landscape. Most, if not all, RTAs contain provisions that establish procedures for resolving disputes among their signatory members. Yet, the design and functioning of these dispute settlement mechanisms (DSMs) and, more specifically, how they differ from the WTO dispute settlement system remain relatively unexplored. Existing academic literature has primarily focused on the narrow issue of jurisdictional conflict between DSMs of RTAs and the WTO dispute settlement system. Literature mapping out and classifying systematically the DSMs of RTAs is more limited. This research paper goes beyond considering the issue of jurisdictional conflict between the multilateral and "regional" regimes. We map out the DSMs in RTAs that have been notified to the WTO and were in force at the end of 2012, and consider a typology of these DSMs based on their nature and design. We also use the data obtained from our mapping exercise in two ways. First, we identify trends and patterns of use, either regionally or by individual countries, of the different types of DSMs in RTAs. Trends are analysed in relation to five key factors: (i) evolution over time, (ii) level of economic development, (iii) regional characteristics, (iv) level of integration (partial scope agreement, free trade agreement or customs union), and (v) configuration (bilateral or plurilateral). Second, we undertake a "nuts and bolts" analysis of the DSMs of RTAs by examining their approach to various issues in international dispute settlement. Our aim is to draw conclusions about the extent to which the predominant type of DSM in RTAs has features that are different from those of the WTO dispute settlement system.

Keywords: Dispute Settlement, Regional Trade Agreements, RTAs, Dispute Settlement Mechanisms, WTO Dispute Settlement

JEL Classification: F13, F15, F53, K33

Suggested Citation

Chase, Claude and Yanovich, Alan and Crawford, Jo-Ann and Ugaz, Pamela, Mapping of Dispute Settlement Mechanisms in Regional Trade Agreements - Innovative or Variations on a Theme? (June 14, 2013). Staff Working Paper ERSD-2013-07, WTO Economic Research and Statistics Division, Geneva . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2279720 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2279720

Claude Chase (Contact Author)

World Trade Organization ( email )

Rue de Lausanne 154
Geneva 21, CH-1211
Switzerland

Alan Yanovich

World Trade Organization (WTO) ( email )

154 Rue de Lausanne
CH-1211 Geneva 21
Switzerland

Jo-Ann Crawford

World Trade Organization (WTO) ( email )

Rue de Lausanne 154
Geneva 21, CH-1211
Saint Lucia

Pamela Ugaz

University of Geneva ( email )

102 Bd Carl-Vogt
Genève, CH - 1205
Switzerland

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