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Trade skirmishes safeguards: A theory of the WTO dispute settlement process

  • Beshkar, Mostafa

I propose a framework within which to interpret and evaluate the major reforms introduced to the GATT system in its transition to the WTO. In particular, I examine the WTO Agreement on Safeguards that has amended the GATT escape clause (Article XIX), and the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) that resembles a court of law under the WTO. Using this framework, I interpret the weakening of the reciprocity principle under the Agreement on Safeguards as an attempt to reduce efficiency-reducing trade skirmishes. The DSB is interpreted as an impartial arbitrator that announces its opinion about the state of the world when a dispute arises among member countries. I demonstrate that the reforms in the GATT escape clause should be bundled with the introduction of the DSB, in order to maintain the incentive compatibility of trade agreements. The model implies that trade agreements under the WTO lead to fewer trade skirmishes but this effect does not necessarily result in higher payoffs to the governments. The model also implies that the introduction of the WTO court, which has no enforcement power, can improve the self-enforceability of trade agreements.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of International Economics.

Volume (Year): 82 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (September)
Pages: 35-48

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Handle: RePEc:eee:inecon:v:82:y:2010:i:1:p:35-48
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505552

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