Dispute Settlement in the World Trade Organisation

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At the heart of the multilateral trading system created in the 1990s is the World Trade Organisations's and its dispute settlement procedures. It is through these procedures that the many kinks of the international trade flow are worked over. In a world of intense global competition member states of the WTO are attempting to pave the way towards a more just and organised trading system by affecting positive change and finding just ends to economic conflicts through dispute resolutions.


Most importantly, and despite the organisation and efficiency of the WTO in producing resolutions, there is the question of whether or not member states will follow through with panel mandates, most specifically those states with the greatest economic power. Experience so far tells us that state cooperation on panel findings may not be the norm and that attempts at retaliation by complaining states could cause a bitter tit for tat situation in which no one wins.
By the 1990s the predecessor to the World Trade Organisation, the GATT (The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade), was of limited use in a world of ever increasing economic interdependence. Member states who came to negotiate at the Uruguay Rounds clearly saw the need to move beyond discussions pertaining purely to trade in goods and into to the areas of services and intellectual property. The trading system that was to come out of these negotiations would become the basis of the new multilateral trading system established on January 1, 1995.
The mandate of the newly created WTO was composed of sixteen articles and four annexes which covered the newly adopted issues as multilateral services and intell ...
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