Emerging trends in WTO dispute settlement : back to the GATT?
As the number of cases in the World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement system has increased, there has been a greater effort by the academic community to analyze the data for emerging trends. Holmes Rollo, and Young seek to develop this literature using data up to the end of 2002 to ask whether recent trends confirm previously identified patterns and to examine whether there are divergences from the overall pattern according to the type of dispute. They focus on three questions in particular: What explains which countries are most involved in complaints under the dispute settlement understanding? Is there a discernible pattern to which countries win? Is there a difference to these patterns depending on the type of measure at the heart of the complaint? The authors find that: A country's trade share is a pretty robust indicator of its likelihood to be either a complainant or a respondent. The frequently remarked absence of the least developed countries from the dispute settlement system can be explained by their low volume of trade. There is not much, if any, evidence of a bias against developing countries either as complainants or respondents. Regulatory issues are fading as reasons for disputes and trade defense disputes are the rising issue. Complainants overwhelmingly win (88 percent of cases). There is no strong evidence that the rate of completion of cases is biased against newly industrializing countries or traditional less developed countries.
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