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date: 22 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines dispute settlement in the World Trade Organization (WTO), surveying some of the main themes in the literature and providing a brief outline of the stages of a typical dispute. It then considers decentralization as the defining feature of WTO dispute settlement, in contrast to domestic courts or supranational enforcement, whose prosecutorial functions are somewhat centralized. It also discusses specific trade concerns (STCs), participation, and the WTO’s words, paying particular attention to the WTO’s collection of data on STCs that are reported to the Technical Barriers to Trade Committee and Sanitary and Phytosanitary Committee. The chapter argues that part of the answer to why dispute settlement matters must be the words uttered in a panel or appellate body report, the calibration of legal arguments to key precedents, and the case law that influences the decision to file in the first place.

Keywords: dispute settlement, World Trade Organization, decentralization, specific trade concerns, participation, Technical Barriers to Trade Committee, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Committee, appellate body, legal arguments, case law

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