Seeking Mutual Understanding. A Discourse Theoretical Analysis of the WTO Dispute Settlement System

World Trade Review, 9(3): 457-85

43 Pages Posted: 17 Nov 2013

See all articles by Emanuela Ceva

Emanuela Ceva

University of Pavia, Department of Political and Social Sciences

Andrea Fracasso

University of Trento

Date Written: January 1, 2010

Abstract

The WTO Dispute Settlement System (DSS) has been the object of many studies in politics, law, and economics focusing on institutional design problems. This paper contributes to such studies by accounting for the argumentative nature and sophisticated features of the DSS through a philosophical analysis of the procedures through which it is articulated. J├╝rgen Habermas's discourse theory is used as a hermeneutic device to disentangle the types of 'orientations' (compromise, consensus, and mutual understanding) pertaining to DSS procedures. We show that these latter are oriented primarily to put the parties in a position to reach mutual understanding. Such an orientation is no mere idiosyncrasy of the DSS but is the only one consistently conducive to the WTO's general aims, in response to the various types of disputes that may arise between its Members. Before closing, we bring our procedural considerations to bear on the reform proposals of the DSS.

Keywords: WTO, Dispute settlement, understanding, compromise, consensus, Habermas, discourse theory

Suggested Citation

Ceva, Emanuela and Fracasso, Andrea, Seeking Mutual Understanding. A Discourse Theoretical Analysis of the WTO Dispute Settlement System (January 1, 2010). World Trade Review, 9(3): 457-85, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2354468

Emanuela Ceva (Contact Author)

University of Pavia, Department of Political and Social Sciences ( email )

Corso Strada Nuova, 65
27100 Pavia, 27100
Italy

HOME PAGE: http://www-3.unipv.it/webdsps/en/docente.php?id=ceva

Andrea Fracasso

University of Trento ( email )

via Inama 5
I-38122 Trento, Trento 38122
Italy

HOME PAGE: http://andrea.fracasso.googlepages.com/andreafracassopersonalhomepage

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
54
Abstract Views
483
Rank
553,272
PlumX Metrics