DISPUTE SETTLEMENT UNDERSTANDING In 1994, the WTO members agreed on the Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the
Settlement of Disputes or Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU) (annexed to the "Final Act" signed in Marrakesh in 1994).Pursuant to the rules detailed in the DSU, member states can engage in consultations to resolve trade disputes pertaining to a "covered agreement" or, if unsuccessful, have a WTO panel hear the case. The priority, however, is to settle disputes, through consultations if possible. By January 2008, only about 136 of the nearly 369 cases had reached the full panel process. The operation of the WTO dispute settlement process involves the parties and third parties to a case and may also involve the DSB panels, the Appellate Body, the WTO Secretariat, arbitrators, independent experts, and several specialized institutions. The General Council discharges its responsibilities under the DSU through the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB). Like the General Council, the DSB is composed of representatives of all WTO Members. The DSB is responsible for administering the DSU, i.e. for overseeing the entire dispute settlement process. It also has the authority to establish panels, adopt panel and Appellate Body reports, maintain surveillance of implementation of rulings and recommendations, and authorize the suspension of obligations under the covered agreements. The DSB meets as often as necessary to adhere to the timeframes provided for in the DSU. WTO DISPUTE SETTLEMENT WTO members have agreed that if they believe fellow-members are violating trade rules, they will use the multilateral system of settling disputes instead of taking action unilaterally. That means they should abide by the agreed procedures, and respect judgments. The WTO·s dispute settlement agreement is formally known as the Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes (DSU). The DSU provides the primary legal means of settling trade related conflicts in the WTO. Settlement of disputes is the responsibility of the Dispute Settlement Body (composed of all Members of the WTO). The Dispute Settlement
Under the DSU the situation is now reversed. it has been denied WTO benefits to which it is entitled.Body (DSB) has the sole authority to establish ´panelsµ of experts to consider the case. unless there is a consensus to reject a ruling. The DSU introduced a more structured process with more clearly defined stages in the procedure and times limits for these stages. If the case is considered urgent (e. Under the DSU the country losing a case cannot unilaterally block the adoption of the ruling.
. and has the power to authorize retaliation when a country does not comply with a ruling. A dispute may also arise if a member feels that. a dispute arises when a country adopts a trade policy measure or takes some action that another member considers to be a violation of a WTO agreement. Under the previous GATT procedure. It sets out in considerable detail the procedures and the timetable to be followed in resolving disputes. if perishable goods are involved). rulings were easier to block. A third group of countries can also declare that they have an interest in the case and. Any country that wants to block a ruling has to persuade all other WTO members (including its adversary in the case) to share its view. rulings could only be adopted by consensus. Typically. A procedure for settling disputes existed under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). then the allowed time is shorter. The agreement emphasizes that prompt settlement is essential if the WTO is to function effectively. as a result of another country·s action. It n monitors the implementation of the rulings and recommendations. and to accept or reject the panels· findi gs or the results of an appeal. they enjoy some rights as Third Parties. but it had no fixed timetables. meaning that a single objection (including from the country which lost the case) could block the ruling. A case that runs its full course should normally take no more than about one year to a first ruling and15 months if there is an appeal. and many cases dragged on for a long time inconclusively. which preceded the WTO.g. when that is the case. rulings are automatically adopted.
negotiation and mediation remain an option for resolving the issue. Consultations are not always followed by a request for a panel. formal consultations invoked under the specific provisions of the DSU are the first stage of the process. plus 6 months for the panel to conclude). it must consult with the other side for a minimum period of 60 days after it first requests a formal consultation. On occasion. either situation could lead to a decision not to press the matter. but when the DSB meets for a second time. Panels (up to 45 days for a panel to be appointed. the complaining country can ask for a panel to be appointed. CONSULTATIONS Before taking any other actions. To facilitate the process. The consultations also offer a country an opportunity to assess the merits of the other country·s case and to clarify the facts. consultation. they can also ask the WTO director-general to mediate or try to help in any other way (So called ´good officesµ). a complaining party may learn from the consultation process about weaknesses in its arguments or damaging facts. the preferred solution is for the countries to settle the dispute by themselves. Even when the case has progressed to other stages. consultations may provide information and leverage for negotiations that lead to a successful resolution of the dispute. Therefore. Since sometimes the threat of action is more potent than the action itself.Although much of the procedure resembles a court or tribunal. The country against whom a case has been brought can block the creation of a panel once. the appointment can no
. If consultations fail. the countries in a dispute have to talk to each other to see if they can settle their differences by themselves. If that fails. Before a country can request the formation of a dispute settlement panel. The countries may hold more than one round of consultations if they find the process informative or if they think they may be able to reach a settlement. the complaining country may sometimes submit written questions that it wants the defending country to answer during the consultations.
In order to facilitate the panel formation process. Because developing country members may need special legal advice. its conclusions are difficult to overturn. the panel is helping the DSB make rulings or recommendations. the Secretariat researches issues and prepares draft report language. But because the panel·s report can only be rejected by consensus in the DSB. the DSU requires the WTO Secretariat to maintain an indicative list of governmental and non-governmental individuals who are suppose to be qualified to be panelists. the Secretariat assists with legal. The role of the WTO Secretariat during the dispute settlement process is to assist panels. historical and procedural aspect of the case and provides secretarial and technical support. All Parties are involved in selection of the Panel from a list of qualified persons. In cases of urgency. can
. Officially. The panel·s final report should normally be given to the parties to the dispute within six months.
PANELISTS Selecting panellists in the WTO is equivalent to selecting a judge and jury. Furthermore. at the request of either party. The Secretariat also assists WTO members regarding dispute settlement questions by answering technical questions regarding the process and the WTO
agreements. the deadline is shortened to three months. the Secretariat can upon request assign a qualified legal expert from its staff to work with a country. including those concerning perishable goods. the Director²General of the WTO.longer be blocked (unless there is a consensus against appointing the panel). In particular. In particular. the DSU rules provide that if there is no agreement on panelists within 20 days after the establishment of the panel. The panel·s findings have to be based on the agreements cited. Such assignments are on made in a manner that ensures the Secretariat ¶s continued impartiality.
they may have very little expertise in the subject matter. Therefore. Article 3. the WTO is really a rather small
community. As panels can differ in composition. a Member wishing to join in multiple consultations must have "a substantial trade interest".11 of the DSU. it can use the DSU process.
STANDING AND ASSESSMENTS OF DAMAGE The need to show economic injury or harm to potential export or trade interests varies depending on the circumstances in a dispute settlement proceeding. Panelists may have decided prior cases in ways that might influence the present one. Further.e. the standing requirement) is not stringent. or they may have personalities that are not disposed to neutrality. a third party must have "a substantial interest" in the matter before becoming a third party in a panel proceeding. The right to initiate a complaint under the DSU (i. they may come from countries known not to be neutral on the subject.determine the composition of a panel.. and under Article 10. if the matter is one on which the Secretariat is known to have an opinion. the ability of a complaining
. Parties chose their presenters with care since panel proceedings involve small numbers of people. outlook and expertise. Despite its status as a global institution. a party may decide it wants a panel composed of independent minders individuals. can be relatively informal and personalities do count.2 of the DSU. Given the role the WTO Secretariat staff plays. The DSU grants WTO members broad discretion in deciding whether they have sufficient ´legal interestµ to bring a case. Article 3.3 of the DSU indicates that if a member ´considersµ that benefits accruing to it directly or indirectly under a WTO Agreement are being impaired by another Member·s measures. a party cannot block the proceeding indefinitely by rejecting panelists. under Article 4. Nevertheless. prospective panelists are scrutinized closely and parties can reject prospective panelists in advance.7 implies that it is up to the member to determine whether in its ´judgmentµ bringing a case would be fruitful. and reputations are always accessible as in a local court.
The issue is of course even more important in cases involving the subsidies. and the broader economic elements or consequences. Article 8 of the DSU provides that the infringement is presumed to have harmed the complaining party and deprived it of benefits to which it was
. United States ²Measure Affecting Imports of Woven Wool Shirts and Blouses from India.
BURDEN OF PROOF In preparing for WTO litigation. In the WTO context retaliation takes the form of suspension of trade concession the complaining party has provided in the past. dumping or safeguard measures. The Appellant Body has stated that: The burden of proof rests upon the party. The role of experts in establishing economic harm or injury is noted below. who asserts the affirmative of a particular claim or defence.3 requires the complaining party to take into account the trade involved. who will fail unless it adduces sufficient evidence to rebut the presumption. Article 22. at 335. However. If that party adduces evidence sufficient to raise a presumption that what is claimed is true. WT/DS33/AB/R and Corr. (Appellate Report. provision to provision. whether complaining or defending. Article 22. the burden then shifts to the other party. and case to case. precisely how much and precisely what kind of evidence will be required to establish such presumption will necessarily vary from measure to measure. adopted 23 May 1997.4 of the DSU requires that the level of retaliation authorized by the DSB must be equivalent to the level of WTO benefits denied the complaining party. a party must consider which party has the burden of proof. the importance of such trade to it.party to show economic harm is important in negotiating compensation or taking retaliatory measures in the event a country fails to withdraw a WTO inconsistent measure after an unfavorable panel ruling. 1. In the context of the GATT 1994 and the WTO Agreement. once a complaining party proves that a measure infringes a WTO Agreement.
and in such cases. Totals for each stage are approximate. DISPUTE SETTLEMENT TIME LINE The approximate periods for each stage of a dispute settlement procedure are target figures and can be extended somewhat.entitled. In this situation. In addition. and respecting judgements. the action is considered prima facie to constitute a case of nullification or impairment. WTO members have agreed that if they believe fellow-members are violating trade rules. This means that there is normally a presumption that a breach of the rules has an adverse impact on other Members parties to that covered agreement. it shall be up to the Member against whom the complaint has been brought to rebut the charge. y The DSU process is also available to a country that feel that a trade measure of another country is denying WTO benefits to which it is entitled even though the measure itself does not violate any WTO Agreement. the burden of proof falls on the defending party to rebut that presumption. the countries can settle their dispute themselves at any stage. they will use the multilateral system of settling disputes instead of taking action unilaterally. This situation is called ´non-violation nullification and impairmentµ and the complaining country has to prove that it is being harmed by the measure. That means abiding by the agreed procedures.
The below charts summarizes the approximate time periods for each of the stages of a WTO dispute settlement proceeding. Article 8 of the DSU states that: y In cases where there is an infringement of the obligations assumed under a covered agreement. In WTO terms. A party may also complain if it feels that a general situation rather than a specific measure is denying it WTO benefits.
. the infringement has nullified and impaired WTO benefits. Disputes in the WTO are essentially about broken promises.
and even when the case has progressed to other stages.g.
. Although much of the procedure does resemble a court or tribunal. and many cases dragged on for a long time inconclusively. It sets out in considerable detail the procedures and the timetable to be followed in resolving disputes. Under the previous GATT procedure. The Uruguay Round agreement introduced a more structured process with more clearly defined stages in the procedure. Now. The agreement emphasizes that prompt settlement is essential if the WTO is to function effectively. or to be a failure to live up to obligations. and if the case is considered urgent (e. It introduced greater discipline for the length of time a case should take to be settled. If a case runs its full course to a first ruling. consultation and mediation are still always possible. if perishable goods are involved). rulings could only be adopted by consensus. rulings were easier to block. with flexible deadlines set in various stages of the procedure. A third group of countries can declare that they have an interest in the case and enjoy some rights. it should not normally take more than about one year ³ 15 months if the case is appealed. the preferred solution is for the countries concerned to discuss their problems and settle the dispute by themselves. but it had no fixed timetables. meaning that a single objection couldblock the ruling. The agreed time limits are flexible. rulings are automatically adopted unless there is a consensus to reject a ruling ³ any country wanting to block a ruling has to persuade all other WTO members (including its adversary in the case) to share its view. A procedure for settling disputes existed under the old GATT. The first stage is therefore consultations between the governments concerned. The Uruguay Round agreement also made it impossible for the country losing a case to block the adoption of the ruling.A dispute arises when one country adopts a trade policy measure or takes some action that one or more fellow-WTO members considers to be breaking the WTO agreements. it is accelerated as much as possible.
the countries can settle their dispute themselves at any stage. and those that have announced they have an interest in the dispute. These written submissions are essentially legal ´briefsµ in which the parties state the facts. mediation. the findings that they want the panel to make and the legal arguments supporting their position. The main stages are: Before the first hearing: The panel will meet for an organizational meeting at which it sets a schedule for the case. 60 days 45 days 6 months 3 weeks 60 days Consultations. In addition. make their case. First hearing: At the first sustentative meeting of the panel: the complaining country (or countries). Totals are also approximate. The complaining party will present its case and make its oral arguments first. the responding country.Duration of a Dispute Settlement procedure These approximate periods for each stage of a dispute settlement procedure are target figures The agreement is flexible. followed by the responding country and
. Each side in the dispute presents its case in writing to the panel. etc Panel set up and panellists appointed Final panel report to parties Final panel report to WTO members Dispute Settlement Body adopts report (if no appeal) Total = 1 year (without appeal) 60-90 days 30 days Appeals report Dispute Settlement Body adopts appeals report Total = 1 year 3 months (with appeal)
STEPS IN THE PANEL PROCESS The DSU describes in some detail how the panels are to work.
Interim report: The panel then submits an interim report to the two sides. Review: The period of review must not exceed two weeks. Third parties will not participate at the panel·s second meeting. including its findings and conclusions. with panel meeting in several sessions to hear the presentation. the panel may hold additional meetings with the two sides. giving them two weeks to comment. It does not tell the Parties
. are given to both sides. it is circulated to all WTO members. the Panel will hold a second meeting at which the parties present oral rebuttal arguments. If the panel decides that the disputed trade measure is inconsistent with a WTO agreement or an obligation. The defending party has the right to present its statement first at this meeting. the panel may consult experts or appoint an expert review group to prepare an advisory report. The parties will have one week to ask for a review. This report does not include findings and conclusions. Final report: A final report is submitted to the two sides and three weeks later. Experts: if one side raises scientific or other technical matters. it recommends that the measure be brought into conformity with WTO rules. the panel may interrupt with questions for the presenter. During oral presentations.then the third parties. including comments on the descriptive part of the report and the response to questions. To ensure transparency. the parties will usually have two to three weeks to submit written rebuttals. presentations to the panel are made only in the presence of both sides and all written submissions. One to two weeks later. First draft: the panel usually submits within two to four weeks after the second hearing the descriptive (factual and argument) sections of its report to the two sides. During that time. The panel also at any time has the right to ask the parties to submit written answers to questions posed during or outside of hearing. The first hearing may run two to three days. Second hearing-Rebuttals: Following the first hearing.
but that the measure has denied the complaining party WTO benefits. The DSB must adopt the report within 60 days unless there is a consensus to reject it. If the panel finds that the trade measure is consistent with the relevant WTO agreements. The Report Becomes A Ruling: Once Members have had 20 days to consider a circulated report. if appropriate. the report can be considered for adoption by the DSB. The panel may however suggest how this could be done. it may recommend a solution.exactly how to do this. This is left to the discretion of the country concerned.
THE PANAL PROCESS
. becomes the ruling of the DSB. unless it is appealed. but the defending country cannot be required to withdraw its measure. The adopted report with a recommendation to bring a measure into conformity.
e. modify or reverse any of the panel·s legal findings and conclusions. The country must state its intention to comply at a DSB meeting held within 30 days of the report·s adoption. the country is required to act on the recommendations in the report and bring the measure into compliance with its obligations. The DSB has to accept (i. Members of the Appellate Body have four-year terms. Normally appeals should not last more than 60 days. Appeals have to be based on points of law such as legal interpretation ³ they cannot request reexamination of existing evidence or examination of new evidence. the member will be given a ´reasonable period of timeµ to do so. Each appeal is heard by three members of a permanent seven-member Appellate Body set up by the DSB (DSB). within 30 days following circulation of the Appellate Body·s report unless there is a consensus to reject in AFTER THE DSB RULING After DSB adoption of a report in which a country·s trade measure has been found to violate its WTO obligations. Sometimes both sides do so. adopt) the panel report. Article 21 of the DSU provides that the ´reasonable period of timeµ can be (a) the time proposed by the losing country. They have to be individuals with recognized standing in the field of law and international trade. if the DSB approves. The appeal can uphold. In other words.APPEALING A PANEL DECISION: Either side can appeal a panel·s ruling. If complying with the recommendation immediately proves impractical. with an absolute maximum of 90 days. the Appellate Body should normally issue a report within 60 days from the date the notice of appeal is filed. The DSU stresses that ´prompt compliance with recommendations or rulings of the DSB« is essential in order to ensure effective resolution of disputes to the benefit of all Membersµ. as modified by the ruling of the Appellate Body. (b) a time period mutually agreed to by the parties or (c) a time period determined through
. not affiliated with any government..
If after 20 days. If a losing party fails to act within a reasonable period of time. but the complaining party does not feel that they are adequate. If this is not practical or if it would not be effective. no satisfactory compensation is agreed. If the two sides cannot agree on what constitutes ´a reasonable period of timeµ or the level of compensation. the action can be taken under another agreement.arbitration. tariff reductions in areas of particular interest to the complaining side. the sanctions should be imposed in the same sector as the dispute. In principle. The DSB monitors how adopted rulings and recommendations are implemented. If a country has taken steps to comply with a panel·s findings. Any outstanding case remains on its agenda until the issue is
resolved. To date in most WTO disputes the losing party has brought its measure into compliance. The objective is to minimize the chances of actions spilling over into unrelated sectors while at the same time allowing the actions to be effective. The DSB should grant this authorization within 30 days of the expiry of the ´reasonable period of timeµ unless there is a consensus against the request. it has to enter into negotiations with the complaining country (or countries) in order to determine mutually acceptable compensation ³ for instance. the complaining side may ask the DSB for permission to impose limited trade sanctions (´suspend concessions or obligationsµ) against the other side. if this is not effective or practicable and if the circumstances are serious enough. the complaining party can have the original panel review the measures adopted and rule on whether they are adequate enough to bring the losing country into compliance. the complaining country may request an arbitrator to decide what a ´reasonable period of timeµ is or the appropriate amount of compensation/trade retaliation to be authorized by the DSB. Article 23 also indicates as guidance to the arbitrator that the period of time should not normally exceed 15 months. the sanctions can be imposed in a different sector of the same agreement. In turn.
In others you will need a clear understanding of all the issues before beginning your analysis. In some cases it may be preferable to write the issues section last after having fully analyzed the arguments. This section should analyze the facts and legal principles involved and set out clear arguments that support your
. Following a presentation of the facts the legal brief should then set out a statement of the issues before the Panel. The issues are the legal subject matter of the case and should clearly reference any laws that are in question. Identifying the appropriate issues for you case and structuring the issue statement well can be crucial to increasing the persuasiveness of your argument. These should be carefully thought out so that they are presented in a way that highlights and makes clear the legal arguments you will make. The presentation of the facts should be as exhaustive as necessary in order to fully inform the reader of the relevant matters which impact on the issues at hand. not just those that support your argument. Facts that are inconvenient for your argument can be distinguished or explained during your analysis and argument. Arguments presented in legal briefs should begin with a statement of the facts of the case.The second part of this paper focuses on some considerations that may be helpful to a person who is involved in the process of preparing a case for WTO dispute settlement or in the Decision to initiate a case. issues sections may need to be refined following a full exploration of facts. analysis and argument by the brief writer. Analysis and argument bring together the facts and issues in a way that establishes your claims either as complainant or defendant. In most cases. Legal arguments normally contain a series of factors presented in such a way as to lead directly to a logical conclusion. This should include all relevant facts to the matter at hand.
STRUCTURING A LEGAL ARGUMENT A cogent legal argument is the key to achieving a successful outcome for your case.
The tests for determining injury varies among the different WTO Agreements. You may need to use experts to present facts. Each element of your conclusions should be substantiated by your analysis and arguments. Arguments in panel proceedings based on a showing of assessment of damage. Panelists are normally not experts in the facts of the cases they hear and may need to be assisted to understand the details of what is being presented. tightly written and apply the appropriate legal principles and cases to the facts. In a WTO proceeding presenting clear and convincing facts that support the legal arguments is very important. but each aspect of the case.position. as well as the economic theory and the math. you should verify the facts and sort and supplement them as necessary. Legal analysis should be clear. A good logical argument should guide you in deciding which facts to present at each stage of your brief. Conclusions should follow from the arguments and should flow in a natural and logical progression from the analysis and argument. Visual aids can be useful. but cannot substitute for a clearly written and articulated factual presentation to which panelists can refer on when they meet together to discuss the case. Facts should support not only the case in general. unless government personnel are able to present a convincing and factual story involving considerable mathematical dexterity. Conclusions should give the Panel a clear indication of the findings that you feel it should make and the logical results of such findings. so you should take care to find experts who know the subject area and the agreement. Arguments based on precedents from similar previous cases are fundamental to substantiating your claims about the legal issues. you should make sure that the expert·s expertise does not detract from his presentation. ANALYSIS OF FACTS At the same time you undertake the legal research. If so.
. You should also use this section to rebut arguments that you anticipate from the other side. economic injury or harm may in particular have to be both prepared and presented by experts.
it is often important and sometimes necessary to be able to supplement the contributions of government-employed specialists with those of private-sector experts.
WTO DISPUTE SETTLEMENT JURISPRUDENCE The basic principles of public commercial law are incorporated in the Final Act of the Uruguay Round and the Marrakesh Agreements establishing the World Trade Organization. In most cases. since it is a government-to-government institution. Experts are mostly used to draft legal analyses and to present facts. These are based on the principles established in GATT 1947.
. You will have to judge whether in your particular case it will be useful to present to Panels a wide variety of information they can view at their discretion. Panels are allowed to choose whether to access non -requested information submitted to them by private sector and NGO groups. However. but you should always focus most on those facts that support the argument. the body of interpretative material is growing rapidly. is understandably reluctant to acknowledge a role for the private sector in the DSM. there is significant jurisprudence. Since the GATT also incorporated a dispute settlement mechanism. However. non-requested information if a party submits it rather than a non-governmental entity.The WTO. Given the large number of WTO panel and Appellate Body decisions approved every year since the founding of the WTO. numerous decisions by GATT panels and working parties interpreting the principles embodied by the agreement. the Appellant Body has ruled that a government does have the right to be represented in a proceeding by a private lawyer if it wants to designate such a person to represent it. nongovernment personnel can be used in almost any capacity except to present an oral argument before a panel. Panels in practice may be more ready to consider non-governmental. and any other information they may find relevant.
For example. that is.Panels and the Appellate Body also often cite principles of public international law. although each dispute settlement panel has reference to decisions of other panels in which similar arguments and facts have been presented. operates on a common law or a civil law model. it is necessary to thoroughly understand the procedural rules of relevant agreements before you begin. the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties is frequently referred to as a guide in interpreting the WTO agreements. as the WTO operates by consensus. Although much has been written about whether the GATT. The foregoing situation means that the principles of WTO law are evolving ones. Thus. there is also general agreement on the analytical approach that should be taken in determining whether a specific measure is inconsistent with the principle. With successive rounds of trade negotiations and the
. Members can also agree upon new WTO principles. it is authorized to interpret the facts and arguments before it on its own authority as well as in light of prior. or similar cases. Furthermore. The Appellate Body in a series of cases has set forth the steps to be followed in analyzing whether a measure is covered by one of the general exceptions in Article XX of the GATT. panels are not formally bound by prior decisions or interpretations. panelists usually seek to support their reasoning by citing decisions of prior panels and the Appellate Body on the same principles. while there is no formal agreement that the principle of stare decisis (the binding nature of previous rulings on subsequent panels) applies in panels decisions. it is probably fair to say that it operates as an amalgam of the two. For some of the principles. As the various WTO agreements may have slightly different rationales and procedures. This has given rise to a series of cases in which panels and the Appellate Body have generally agreed that broad principles set forth in the WTO Agreements and GATT 1947 operate in specific ways. and the succeeding WTO dispute settlement mechanism. there is virtual agreement that certain principles of interpretation should be adhered to. The cases also spell out the order in which the steps are to be taken. In this regard. Nevertheless.
the deadlines for the developing country to make its submissions may be relaxed. that party is entitled to have at least one panelist who comes from a developing country. Most likely the new principles will be augmentative. the Director-General and the Chairman of the DSB stand ready to offer their good offices before a formal request for a panel is made. At the 2001 Doha WTO Ministerial meeting. now supplemented and clarified by the Uruguay Round Agreements. the time for consultations (before a panel is convened) may be extended. will be even more fully elaborated and new areas added as new negotiations take place. Further. In order to assist developing countries in overcoming their limited expertise in WTO law and assist them in managing complex trade disputes.WTO·s growth as an institution. The aim is to level the playing field for these countries and
. "particular attention" is to be paid to the interests of the developing countries in the course of implementing recommendations and rulings of panels. the DSU provides that the report of panels shall "explicitly indicate" how account has been taken of the "differential and more favorable treatment" provisions of the agreement under which the complaint is brought. Formal complaints against least developed countries are discouraged. Whether or not a developing country is a party to a particular proceeding. an Advisory Centre on WTO Law was established in 2001. if one party to a dispute is a developing country. If a complaint is brought against a developing country. and if the dispute goes to a panel. the Secretariat is authorized to make a qualified legal expert available to any developing country on request. WTO members agreed to consider developing principles and disciplines in several new areas. the DSU contains several provisions directed to developing countries. it is likely that the principles developed under GATT 1947. Also. and if consultations fail.
DSU PROVISIONS FOR DEVELOPING COUNTRIES: Like most of the agreements adopted in the Uruguay Round. but the basic principles will remain. The Understanding states that members should give "special attention" to the problems and interests of developing country members. As to substance.
however.customs territories in the WTO system by enabling them to have a full understanding of their rights and obligations under the WTO Agreement. if complainants find this ineffective or impracticable. CONCLUSION: The power to settle international disputes with binding authority
distinguishes the World Trade Organization from most other intergovernmental institutions. The Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes gives the WTO unprecedented power to resolve trade-related conflicts between nations and assign penalties and compensation to the parties involved. the DSB can authorize the complainant to suspend commitments and concessions to the violating Member. In general. The primary goal of dispute settlement is to ensure national compliance with multilateral trade rules. If a Member does not comply with rulings.
. complainants are encouraged to suspend concessions with respect to the same sector as the subject of the dispute. Accordingly. they may suspend concessions in other sectors of the same Agreement or even under separate Agreements. the Dispute Settlement Body encourages Members to their make best possible efforts to bring legislation into compliance with the panel ruling within a ´reasonable period of timeµ established by the parties to the dispute.