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Issues of Fairness in Dispute Settlement


  • Andrew G. Brown

    (Wellfleet, MA)

  • Robert M. Stern

    (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)


We first discuss what fairness may mean in the context of the dispute settlement process, noting the crucial relation between fairness in dispute settlement and the functioning of the trading system as a whole. We explore this relation further through an analysis of three main groups of dispute settlement cases. These are: cases that turn around the question of defining fair competition; cases that arise from the use of contingency measures; and cases that draw the boundaries between domestic regulatory measures and the trade-related norms and rules of the WTO. There follows an analysis of experience with compliance and with the use of counter measures in various cases. Finally, taking together the rulings of the Dispute Settlement Body and the procedures for compliance and the use of counter measures, we conclude that while the present dispute settlement process serves to protect the fairness of the trading system as a whole, there are some aspects of dispute settlement that remain problematic from the standpoint of fairness.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew G. Brown & Robert M. Stern, 2008. "Issues of Fairness in Dispute Settlement," Working Papers 577, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  • Handle: RePEc:mie:wpaper:577

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    disputes; resolution; trade; exports;

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