Commentaries

WTO Dispute Settlement: Resolving trade disputes between WTO members

“WTO Dispute Settlement: Resolving trade disputes between WTO members” written by WTO is published in 2015.

Introduction

The WTO’s dispute settlement system has as its foundation the rules, procedures and practices developed under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) 1947. However, it improves upon the previous system in a number of ways, including by being more accessible. This is shown by the increased participation of developing countries.

The dispute settlement system follows specific and detailed timetables for completing the examination of a case. This first takes place by a group of three panellists who are specially selected for the case. Their findings are published in a report which may be appealed by the members concerned. Appeals are considered by the WTO’s Appellate Body, which consists of seven members elected for a four-year term.

The rules and procedures of the WTO’s dispute settlement system are set out in the Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU), which is administered by the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB), consisting of representatives of all WTO members.

When lodging a complaint, WTO members are required to specify which WTO agreements are allegedly being violated.

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