Does the U.S. Support International Tribunals? The Case of the Multilateral Trade System
THE UNITED STATES AND INTERNATIONAL COURTS AND TRIBUNALS, Cesare Romano, ed., 2007
38 Pages Posted: 4 May 2007
This paper challenges the conventional wisdom concerning the US's commitment to legalized resolution of trade disputes by examining shifts in US attitudes to legalized dispute settlement over time. This historical review suggests that US government support for judicialized dispute settlement in international trade is based less on an abstract commitment to the rule of law in international relations than on pragmatic, short-term and highly contextual calculations that this mechanism serves US interests better than alternative arrangements. This history also reveals that the level of US commitment to, and participation in, legalized trade dispute resolution mechanisms reflects a two-level game where US officials mediate conflicting pressures generated by their foreign counterparts and domestic political actors. The history of ebbs and flows in US enthusiasm for legalized dispute settlement suggests that in contexts where judicialized dispute settlement is not perceived to serve US political or economic interests, continued US support for the system will not be forthcoming.
This paper will appear in "The United States and International Courts and Tribunals," edited by Cesare Romano; this volume examines US attitudes towards international adjudication across a variety of issue areas.
Keywords: ITO, GATT, WTO, DSU, international courts, international tribunals, international adjudication, international trade law, dispute settlement
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