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Negotiating the review of the WTO Dispute Settlement Understanding

Zimmermann, Thomas A. (2006): Negotiating the review of the WTO Dispute Settlement Understanding. Published in:

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Abstract

ABSTRACT

On 1 January 1995, the Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes (DSU) entered into force. Since 1998, negotiations to review and reform the DSU have taken place (‘DSU review’), without however yielding any result so far. This study proposes to analyse the DSU review negotiations and the proposals submitted so far.

In a first step, the foundations for the discussion are laid with a brief account of the economic, legal and political aspects of the dispute settlement mechanism, its evolution and its working in practice.

In a second step, the study offers an overview and analysis of the negotiating process in its broader context. Additionally, negotiating proposals on stage-specific and horizontal issues of the dispute settlement mechanism are presented and analysed in depth with regard to their background, their contents and their potential implications.

In a third step, the difficulties faced by negotiators in completing the DSU review are explored. Policy recommendations for further negotiations are made and the chances of a future agreement are evaluated.

Finally, the study is also intended to offer a one-stop point of departure for other researchers who wish to explore further specific aspects of the DSU review. To this end, references available on the DSU review exercise have been comprehensively documented.

JEL Classification: F02, F13, K33, K41

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