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Trade Policy Roundtable

Strengthening the WTO Dispute-Settlement Process

Seminar at 10.30 a.m. on Tuesday, May 1, 2001, at O’Melveny & Myers, 555 Thirteenth Street, N.W. (fourth floor), Washington, D.C. 20004

FOR THE last three years, governments have been unable to complete a review of the WTO’s dispute-settlement process, as required by the Uruguay Round understanding.  Many believe the process is being over-loaded, especially by the United States and the European Union, sometimes with politically intractable cases. More use should be made of the mediation provision, it is said, for diplomatic solutions are needed.  But how can that be achieved?   Wasn’t the process earlier weakened by “diplomatic solutions”, which often meant power determining the outcome of disputes, undermining a rules-based system that is supposed to be safeguarding small-country interests?

William J. Davey was Director of the Legal Affairs Division at the WTO Secretariat, Geneva, from 1995 through 1999, on leave from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he has taught since 1984.  He is co-author of Handbook of GATT Dispute Settlement (1991) and Legal Problems of International Economic Relations (third edition, 1994).          

The Cordell Hull Institute’s Trade Policy Roundtable is sponsored by Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, Arnold & Porter, O’Melveny & Myers, Steptoe & Johnson and Wilmer Cutler & Pickering