IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Ask for the Moon, Settle for the Stars. What is a Reasonable Period to Comply with WTO Awards?


  • Petros C. Mavroidis
  • Niall Meagher
  • Thomas J. Prusa and Tatiana Yanguas


The World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement process allows a defending Member a “reasonable period of time” (RPT) to implement any findings that its contested measures are inconsistent with WTO law. If agreement on this RPT cannot be reached, Article 21.3(c) of the Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes (DSU) provides for the possibility of arbitration on the length of the RPT. The DSU provides limited guidelines on the RPT, stating only that it should not normally exceed 15 months. In practice, Arbitrators have developed the standard that the RPT should reflect the shortest possible period under the domestic legal system of the defending Member to make the changes necessary to comply with the WTO rulings. Our research confirms that in practice Arbitrators have determined this period by “splitting the difference” approximately between the periods suggested by the complaining and defending Member. In addition, the process appears to reward defending Members that request an RPT that exceeds the 15-month guideline in Article 21.3(c).

Suggested Citation

  • Petros C. Mavroidis & Niall Meagher & Thomas J. Prusa and Tatiana Yanguas, 2016. "Ask for the Moon, Settle for the Stars. What is a Reasonable Period to Comply with WTO Awards?," RSCAS Working Papers 2016/45, European University Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:rsc:rsceui:2016/45

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Henrik Horn & Giovanni Maggi & Robert W. Staiger, 2010. "Trade Agreements as Endogenously Incomplete Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 394-419, March.
    2. Petros C. Mavroidis, 2016. "Dispute Settlement in the WTO. Mind over Matter," RSCAS Working Papers 2016/04, European University Institute.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Bernard M. Hoekman & Petros C. Mavroidis & Maarja Saluste, 2020. "Informing WTO Reform: Dispute Settlement Performance, 1995-2020," RSCAS Working Papers 2020/59, European University Institute.

    More about this item


    WTO; Dispute Settlement; Reasonable Period of Time;

    JEL classification:

    • K40 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - General

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:rsc:rsceui:2016/45. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (RSCAS web unit). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.