- List of Figures
- List of Tables
- List of Abbreviations
- About the Contributors
- The Case For a Multilateral Trade Organization
- The Inconsistent Quartet: Free Trade Versus Competing Goals
- Trade Liberalization And Domestic Politics
- The International Trade Organization
- The Expanding Mandate Of The Gatt: The First Seven Rounds
- The Uruguay Round Negotiations and the Creation of the WTO
- The Role of the Director-General and the Secretariat
- Defining the Borders of the WTO Agenda
- Collective Agency, Systemic Consequences: Bargaining Coalitions in the WTO
- The Influence of the EU in the World Trade System
- The Role of the United States: A Multilevel Explanation For Decreased Support Over Time
- The Role of the Brics in the WTO: System-Supporters or Change Agents in Multilateral Trade?
- Least-Developed Countries In The WTO: Growing Voice
- Awkward Partners: NGOs And Social Movements At The WTO
- What Happened To The Influence Of Business? Corporations and Organized Labour In The WTO
- Trade In Manufactures And Agricultural Products: The Dangerous Link?
- Trade In Services In The WTO: From Marrakesh (1994), To Doha (2001), to… (?)
- Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights
- Flexibilities, Rules, And Trade Remedies In The Gatt/WTO System
- Regulatory Measures
- The Trade Policy Review Mechanism
- Dispute Settlement Mechanism—Analysis And Problems
- The Dispute Settlement Mechanism At The WTO: The Appellate Body—Assessment And Problems
- WTO Judicial Interpretation
- The Dispute Settlement Mechanism: Ensuring Compliance?
- Persistent Deadlock In Multilateral Trade Negotiations: The Case Of Doha
- The Role Of Domestic Courts In The Implementation Of WTO Law: The Political Economy Of Separation Of Powers And Checks And Balances In International Trade Regulation
- Preferential Trading Arrangements
- New Trade Issues In Food, Agriculture, And Natural Resources
- Fairness In The WTO Trading System
- Labour Standards And Human Rights
- Trade And The Environment
- Proposals For WTO Reform: A Synthesis And Assessment
- The WTO And Institutional (In)Coherence In Global Economic Governance
Abstract and Keywords
What is the purpose of the World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement mechanism (DSM)? This seemingly simple question has become a source of considerable academic debate. All commentators agree that one purpose of the system is to encourage compliance with WTO obligations, at least some of the time. Beyond this point of partial agreement, however, lie a variety of additional perspectives. This article investigates the extent to which the purpose of the DSM is to ensure compliance, pointing to differing views on whether the system is meant to facilitate efficient breach (and hence the limits of retaliation) or if it is meant to rebalance concessions following breach of obligations. It looks at the legal debate on the purpose of the DSM and explains how it allows members the option to violate WTO obligations for a measured ‘price’ that is tied to the harm done by the violation to the complainants. The article argues that the logic of the system can be best understood ‘as a way to facilitate efficient adjustment of the bargain over time’.
Alan Sykes is James and Patricia Kowal Professor of Law, Stanford Law School, and directs the Masters Program in International Economic Law, Business and Policy. He is a leading expert on the application of economics to legal problems, and his writing and teaching have encompassed international trade, torts, contracts, insurance, antitrust, and economic analysis of law.
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