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Developing Countries as Plaintiffs and Defendants in GATT/WTO Trade Disputes

  • Chad P. Bown

Developing countries have been increasing their participation in the formal institutions and proceedings of the multilateral trading system. A prominent example is their more frequent involvement as defendants and plaintiffs in GATT/WTO trade disputes. This paper provides an initial economic appraisal of developing country performance in the GATT/WTO dispute settlement system. We measure the economic resolution of these disputes through trade liberalisation gains, and our results suggest that developing country plaintiffs have had more success under WTO disputes than was the case under the GATT. We also document evidence on potential determinants of this success: the capacity for plaintiffs to make credible retaliatory threats and the guilty determinations by GATT/WTO panels. Finally, there is also some evidence that developing countries have recognised the importance of retaliatory threats and have responded by changing their pattern of dispute initiation under the WTO to better take advantage of the instances in which they have sufficient leverage to threaten retaliation and induce compliance with GATT/WTO obligations. Copyright Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2004.

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Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal The World Economy.

Volume (Year): 27 (2004)
Issue (Month): 1 (01)
Pages: 59-80

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Handle: RePEc:bla:worlde:v:27:y:2004:i:1:p:59-80
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