Ask for the Moon, Settle for the Stars. What is a Reasonable Period to Comply with WTO Awards?

35 Pages Posted: 17 Nov 2016

See all articles by Petros C. Mavroidis

Petros C. Mavroidis

Columbia University - Law School; European University Institute - Department of Law (LAW); European University Institute - Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies (RSCAS)

Niall Meagher

Advisory Centre on WTO Law (ACWL)

Thomas J. Prusa

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - New Brunswick/Piscataway

Tatiana Yanguas

Advisory Centre on WTO Law (ACWL)

Date Written: September 2016

Abstract

The World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement process allows a defending Member a “reasonable period of time” (RPT) to implement any findings that its contested measures are inconsistent with WTO law. If agreement on this RPT cannot be reached, Article 21.3(c) of the Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes (DSU) provides for the possibility of arbitration on the length of the RPT. The DSU provides limited guidelines on the RPT, stating only that it should not normally exceed 15 months. In practice, Arbitrators have developed the standard that the RPT should reflect the shortest possible period under the domestic legal system of the defending Member to make the changes necessary to comply with the WTO rulings. Our research confirms that in practice Arbitrators have determined this period by “splitting the difference” approximately between the periods suggested by the complaining and defending Member. In addition, the process appears to reward defending Members that request an RPT that exceeds the 15-month guideline in Article 21.3(c).

Keywords: WTO; Dispute Settlement; Reasonable Period of Time

JEL Classification: K40

Suggested Citation

Mavroidis, Petros C. and Meagher, Niall and Prusa, Thomas J. and Yanguas, Tatiana, Ask for the Moon, Settle for the Stars. What is a Reasonable Period to Comply with WTO Awards? (September 2016). Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies Research Paper No. RSCAS 2016/45. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2870562 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2870562

Petros C. Mavroidis (Contact Author)

Columbia University - Law School ( email )

435 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10025
United States

European University Institute - Department of Law (LAW) ( email )

Via Bolognese 156 (Villa Salviati)
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ITALY

European University Institute - Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies (RSCAS) ( email )

Villa La Fonte, via delle Fontanelle 18
50016 San Domenico di Fiesole
Florence, Florence 50014
Italy

Niall Meagher

Advisory Centre on WTO Law (ACWL) ( email )

Avenue Guiseppe-Motta 31-33
Geneva, 1211
Switzerland

Thomas J. Prusa

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - New Brunswick/Piscataway ( email )

94 Rockafeller Road
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
United States

Tatiana Yanguas

Advisory Centre on WTO Law (ACWL) ( email )

Avenue Guiseppe-Motta 31-33
Geneva, 1211
Switzerland

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