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Some Reflections of Compliance with WTO Dispute Settlement Decisions

Posted: 29 Apr 2004  

Carlos Manuel Vazquez

Georgetown University Law Center

John H. Jackson

Georgetown University Law Center

Abstract

When the WTO's Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU) came into force in 1994, it was widely regarded as an important advance over the dispute settlement regime that had prevailed under the GATT. Perhaps the most important changes were the creation of a standing Appellate Body, to which member states were given the right to appeal any adverse decision of a dispute settlement panel, and the implementation of automaticity, allowing for the automatic adoption of panel reports unless the member states unanimously choose to block it. After nearly seven years' experience with the DSU, the member states, at the Fourth Ministerial Conference in November 2001 in Doha, Qatar, agreed to conduct negotiations on improvements and clarifications of the Dispute Settlement Understanding. What the member states will regard as needed improvements to the DSU will reflect their view of the deficiencies of the DSU as it currently exists. In turn, the member states' perceptions of existing DSU deficiencies will be based on their experiences with the DSU thus far.

The Dispute Settlement Body's (DSB) record in achieving compliance with its decisions will be regarded by many as an important - perhaps the most important - datum in assessing the effectiveness of the current DSU. After briefly describing the main elements of the Dispute Settlement Understanding, this paper offers a few cautionary notes concerning the enterprise of drawing conclusions about the effectiveness of the DSU on the basis of the experience thus far with compliance with panel and AB decisions.

Suggested Citation

Vazquez, Carlos Manuel and Jackson, John H., Some Reflections of Compliance with WTO Dispute Settlement Decisions. Law and Policy in International Business, Vol. 33, No. 4, Summer 2002. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=535723

Carlos Manuel Vazquez (Contact Author)

Georgetown University Law Center ( email )

600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
6009 Hotung Building
Washington, DC 20001
United States
202-662-9447 (Phone)
202-662-9411 (Fax)

John H. Jackson

Georgetown University Law Center ( email )

600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
McDonough Hall, Room 456
Washington, DC 20001
United States
202-662-9837 (Phone)

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