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Making WTO Dispute Settlement Work for African Countries: An Evaluation of Current Proposals for Reforming the DSU

Lorand Bartels
  • Corresponding author
  • Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • Email:
Published Online: 2013-08-30 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ldr-2013-0020

Abstract

Most African countries are WTO Members, and yet to date none has been a complainant in dispute settlement proceedings. One possible reason is that the WTO enforcement regime is not well suited to smaller complainants whose imports from a larger defendant represent only a small share of that defendant’s total exports. Because retaliation rights must be “equivalent” to damage caused, retaliation may not be sufficient to induce the defendant to comply with its obligations. As a result, there may be a chilling effect on smaller countries commencing trade disputes. This article analyses current proposals within the context of the WTO DSU Review that address this problem. It also compares the WTO enforcement regime to general international law on the proportionality of countermeasures and suggests ways to soften the “equivalence” requirement.

Keywords: WTO; DSU; countermeasures; retaliation; proportionality

Bibliography

    Secondary literature

    • Anon, Argos Panoptes, Theoi Project (undated), available at: <http://www.theoi.com/Gigante/GiganteArgosPanoptes.html>.

    • Anon, “As Antigua Considers Cross-Retaliation against US, WIPO Official Creates Stir” (12)(2) Bridges Weekly Trade New Digest, 23 January 2008, available at: <http://ictsd.org/i/news/bridgesweekly/6612/>.

    • Anon, “Kind Amendment Successfully Cuts Taxpayer-Funded Brazilian Cotton Subsidies”, Press Release, 16 June 2011, available at: <http://kind.house.gov/index.cfm?sectionid=52&itemid=809>.

    • Anon, “Pirate Bay and Antigua Explore Launch of Authorized ‘Pirate Site’”, TorrentFreak, 3 May 2013, available at: <http://torrentfreak.com/pirate-bay-and-antigua-explore-launch-of-authorized-pirate-site-130503/>.

    • ACP Group, “Finding the Key to the Cotton Issue at the WTO Cannot Wait!”, Press Release, 17 January 2011, available at: http://www.acp.int/es/content/finding-key-cotton-issue-wto-cannot-wait.

    • Bagwell, Kyle, Petros C. Mavroidis and Robert W. Staiger, “The Case for Tradeable Remedies in the WTO”, in Simon Evenett and Bernard Hoekman (eds.), Economic Development and Multilateral Trade Cooperation (Washington, DC: Palgrave/McMillan and World Bank, 2005).

    • Bagwell, Kyle, Petros C. Mavroidis and Robert W. Staiger, Auctioning Countermeasures in the WTO, 73 Journal of International Economics 309 (2007). [Crossref]

    • Bohanes, Jan and Fernanda Garza, Going Beyond Stereotypes: Participation of Developing Countries in WTO Dispute Settlement, 4 Journal of Trade Law and Development 45 (2012).

    • Bown, Chad and Joost Pauwelyn (eds.), The Law, Economics and Politics of Retaliation in WTO Dispute Settlement (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010).

    • Bronckers, Marco and Freya Baetens, Reconsidering Financial Remedies in WTO Dispute Settlement, 16 Journal of International Law 281 (2013). [Crossref]

    • Bronckers, Marco and Naboth van den Broek, Financial Compensation in the WTO: Improving the Remedies of WTO Dispute Settlement, 8 Journal of International Economic Law 101 (2005). [Crossref]

    • Conti, Joseph, Between Law and Diplomacy: The Social Contexts of Disputing at the World Trade Organization (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2011).

    • Davey, Bill, The WTO Dispute Settlement System: The First Ten Years, 8 Journal of International Economic Law 17 (2005). [Crossref]

    • Delpeuch, Claire, African Cotton Markets at Crossroads: Will the Price Spike Turn into a New Kick-Start? (World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 5847, October 2011).

    • Flett, James, Multiple Panel Proceedings, Relative “Equivalence” and Tradable Retaliation Rights: A “Travel-Pass” for Developing Countries in Dispute Settlement? (unpublished, on file with author) (undated).

    • Froese, Marc, Do Developed Countries “Lawyer up” Faster than Developing Countries? Evaluating the Speed and Momentum of Trade Litigation at the World Trade Organization, 45 Journal of World Trade 1237 (2011).

    • Howse, Robert and Robert Staiger, United States – Anti-Dumping Act of 1916 (Original Complaint by the European Communities) – Recourse to Arbitration by the United States under 22.6 of the DSU, WT/DS136/ARB, 24 February 2004 – A Legal and Economic Analysis, 4 World Trade Review 295 (2005).

    • Hudec, Robert, The GATT Legal System and World Trade Diplomacy (New York: Praeger, 1975).

    • ICTSD, “Brazil, US Strike ‘Framework’ Deal in Cotton Dispute’”, 14(23) Bridges Weekly 1, 2010.

    • Malacrida, Reto, Towards Sounder and Fairer WTO Retaliation: Suggestions for Possible Additional Procedural Rules Governing Members’ Preparation and Adoption of Retaliatory Measures, 42 Journal of World Trade 3 (2008).

    • Mitchell, Kristina, Developing Country Success in WTO Disputes, 47 Journal of World Trade 77 (2013).

    • Nottage, Hunter, “Trade and Development”, in Daniel Bethlehem et al. (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of International Trade Law (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009).

    • Nottage, Hunter, David versus Goliath: An Evaluation of the Participation of Commonwealth Small States and Least-Developed Countries in WTO Dispute Settlement and an Analysis of the Constraints They Face (Commonwealth Secretariat Paper, November 2012) (unpublished, on file with author).

    • O’Connor, Bernard and Margareta Djordjevic, Practical Aspects of Monetary Compensation: The US – Copyright Case, 8 Journal of International Economic Law 127 (2005). [Crossref]

    • Palmer, Doug, US Warns Antigua against “Government-Authorized Piracy”, Reuters, 28 January 2013, available at: <http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/28/us-usa-antigua-piracy-idUSBRE90R12G20130128>.

    • Rugwabiza, Valentine, Africa Should Trade More with Africa to Secure Future Growth, 12 April 2012, available at: <http://www.wto.org/english/news_e/news12_e/ddg_12apr12_e.htm>.

    • Shaffer, Gregory, “Developing Country Use of the WTO Dispute Settlement System: Why It Matters, the Barriers Posed”, in James Hartigan (ed.), Trade Disputes and the Dispute Settlement Understanding of the WTO: An Interdisciplinary Assessment (Bingley: Emerald, 2009).

    • Schropp, Simon, “The Equivalence Standard under Article 22.4 of the DSU: A “Tariffic” Misunderstanding?”, in Chad Bown and Joost Pauwelyn (eds.), The Law, Economics and Politics of Retaliation in WTO Dispute Settlement (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010).

    • Shepherd, Jordan et al., Effective Compliance in the DSU: The Mechanics of Monetary Compensation as a Form of Reparation, Trade and Investment Law Clinic Papers, Graduate Institute (Geneva, 2012).

    • Wilson, Bruce, Compliance by WTO Members with Adverse WTO Dispute Settlement Rulings: The Record to Date, 10 Journal of International Economic Law 397 (2007). [Crossref]

    • Zeng, Ka, Legal Capacity and Developing Country Performance in the Panel Stage of the WTO Dispute Settlement System, 47 Journal of World Trade 187 (2013).

    Official documents

    • Arbitration, Case Concerning the Air Services Agreement of 27 March 1946 (US/France), XVIII RIAA 417, 9 December 1978.

    • Brazil and United States, Framework Agreement for a Mutually Agreed Solution to the Cotton Dispute in the World Trade Organization (WT/DS267), signed in August 2010, available at: <http://www.ustr.gov/webfm_send/1996>.

    • GATT Secretariat, Measures to Deal with Members in Category IV of the Administrative Arrangements on Arrears, GATT Docs PC/7, L/7578, 13 December 1994.

    • WTO Arbitrators Decision, EC – Bananas III (US) (Article 22.6–EC), WT/DS27/ARB, 9 April 1999.

    • WTO Arbitrators Decision, EC – Bananas III (Ecuador) (Article 22.6–EC), WT/DS27/ARB/ECU, 24 March 2000a.

    • WTO Arbitrators Decision, Brazil – Aircraft (Article 22.6–Brazil), WT/DS46/ARB, 28 August 2000b.

    • WTO Arbitrators Decision, US – 1916 Act (EC) (Article 22.6–US), WT/DS136/ARB, 24 February 2004

    • WTO Arbitrators Decision, US – Gambling (Article 22.6–US), WT/DS285/ARB, 21 December 2007.

    • WTO Arbitrators Decision, US – Upland Cotton (Article 22.6 DSU and Article 4.1 SCM – US), WT/DS267/ARB/1, 31 August 2009.

    • WTO Arbitrators Decision, US – Upland Cotton (Article 22.6 DSU and Article 7.10 SCM – US), WT/DS267/ARB/2, 31 August 2009.

    • WTO Dispute Settlement Body, DSU Negotiations – Special and Differential Treatment for Developing Countries – Proposals on DSU by Cuba, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, TN/DS/W/19, 9 October 2002.

    • WTO Dispute Settlement Body, DSU Negotiations – Proposal by Mexico, TN/DS/W/23, 4 November 2002.

    • WTO Dispute Settlement Body, Minutes of Meeting Held on 13–15 November 2002, TN/DS/M/6, 31 March 2003.

    • WTO Dispute Settlement Body, Notification of a Mutually Satisfactory Temporary Arrangement, WT/DS160/23, 23 June 2003.

    • WTO Dispute Settlement Body, US – Gambling – Recourse by Antigua and Barbuda to Article 22.2 of the DSU, WT/DS285/22, 22 June 2007.

    • WTO Dispute Settlement Body, Special Session – Report by the Chairman, JOB(08)/81, 18 July 2008.

    • WTO Dispute Settlement Body, Special Session – Report by the Chairman, TN/DS/23, 5 December 2008.

    • WTO Dispute Settlement Body, Special Session – Report by the Chairman, TN/DS/25, 21 April 2011.

    • WTO Dispute Settlement Body, Informal Meeting of the DSB Special Session, 30 September 2011–Chairman’s Remarks: Summary of Recent Work (Week of 26 September 2011), JOB/DS/4, 26 October 2011.

    • WTO Dispute Settlement Body, EC and Certain Member States – Large Civil Aircraft (Recourse to Article 7.9 of the SCM Agreement and Article 22.2 of the DSU by the United States), WT/DS316/18, 12 December 2011.

    • WTO Dispute Settlement Body, Informal Meeting of the DSB Special Session, 8 June 2012–Chairman’s Remarks: Summary of Recent Work (Week of 4 June 2012), JOB/DS/10, 15 June 2012.

    • WTO Dispute Settlement Body, US – Large Civil Aircraft (Second Complaint) (Recourse to Article 22.2 of the DSU, and Articles 4.10 and 7.9 of the SCM Agreement, by the European Union), WT/DS353/17, 2 October 2012.

    • WTO Dispute Settlement Body, US – Gambling (Recourse by Antigua and Barbuda to Article 22.7), WT/DS285/25, 13 December 2012.

    • WTO Dispute Settlement Body, Minutes of Meeting on 28 January 2013, WT/DSB/M/328, 22 March 2013.

    • WTO General Council, Minutes of Meeting on 11 December 2012, WT/GC/M/141, 2012.

Secondary literature

  • Anon, Argos Panoptes, Theoi Project (undated), available at: <http://www.theoi.com/Gigante/GiganteArgosPanoptes.html>.

  • Anon, “As Antigua Considers Cross-Retaliation against US, WIPO Official Creates Stir” (12)(2) Bridges Weekly Trade New Digest, 23 January 2008, available at: <http://ictsd.org/i/news/bridgesweekly/6612/>.

  • Anon, “Kind Amendment Successfully Cuts Taxpayer-Funded Brazilian Cotton Subsidies”, Press Release, 16 June 2011, available at: <http://kind.house.gov/index.cfm?sectionid=52&itemid=809>.

  • Anon, “Pirate Bay and Antigua Explore Launch of Authorized ‘Pirate Site’”, TorrentFreak, 3 May 2013, available at: <http://torrentfreak.com/pirate-bay-and-antigua-explore-launch-of-authorized-pirate-site-130503/>.

  • ACP Group, “Finding the Key to the Cotton Issue at the WTO Cannot Wait!”, Press Release, 17 January 2011, available at: http://www.acp.int/es/content/finding-key-cotton-issue-wto-cannot-wait.

  • Bagwell, Kyle, Petros C. Mavroidis and Robert W. Staiger, “The Case for Tradeable Remedies in the WTO”, in Simon Evenett and Bernard Hoekman (eds.), Economic Development and Multilateral Trade Cooperation (Washington, DC: Palgrave/McMillan and World Bank, 2005).

  • Bagwell, Kyle, Petros C. Mavroidis and Robert W. Staiger, Auctioning Countermeasures in the WTO, 73 Journal of International Economics 309 (2007). [Crossref]

  • Bohanes, Jan and Fernanda Garza, Going Beyond Stereotypes: Participation of Developing Countries in WTO Dispute Settlement, 4 Journal of Trade Law and Development 45 (2012).

  • Bown, Chad and Joost Pauwelyn (eds.), The Law, Economics and Politics of Retaliation in WTO Dispute Settlement (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010).

  • Bronckers, Marco and Freya Baetens, Reconsidering Financial Remedies in WTO Dispute Settlement, 16 Journal of International Law 281 (2013). [Crossref]

  • Bronckers, Marco and Naboth van den Broek, Financial Compensation in the WTO: Improving the Remedies of WTO Dispute Settlement, 8 Journal of International Economic Law 101 (2005). [Crossref]

  • Conti, Joseph, Between Law and Diplomacy: The Social Contexts of Disputing at the World Trade Organization (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2011).

  • Davey, Bill, The WTO Dispute Settlement System: The First Ten Years, 8 Journal of International Economic Law 17 (2005). [Crossref]

  • Delpeuch, Claire, African Cotton Markets at Crossroads: Will the Price Spike Turn into a New Kick-Start? (World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 5847, October 2011).

  • Flett, James, Multiple Panel Proceedings, Relative “Equivalence” and Tradable Retaliation Rights: A “Travel-Pass” for Developing Countries in Dispute Settlement? (unpublished, on file with author) (undated).

  • Froese, Marc, Do Developed Countries “Lawyer up” Faster than Developing Countries? Evaluating the Speed and Momentum of Trade Litigation at the World Trade Organization, 45 Journal of World Trade 1237 (2011).

  • Howse, Robert and Robert Staiger, United States – Anti-Dumping Act of 1916 (Original Complaint by the European Communities) – Recourse to Arbitration by the United States under 22.6 of the DSU, WT/DS136/ARB, 24 February 2004 – A Legal and Economic Analysis, 4 World Trade Review 295 (2005).

  • Hudec, Robert, The GATT Legal System and World Trade Diplomacy (New York: Praeger, 1975).

  • ICTSD, “Brazil, US Strike ‘Framework’ Deal in Cotton Dispute’”, 14(23) Bridges Weekly 1, 2010.

  • Malacrida, Reto, Towards Sounder and Fairer WTO Retaliation: Suggestions for Possible Additional Procedural Rules Governing Members’ Preparation and Adoption of Retaliatory Measures, 42 Journal of World Trade 3 (2008).

  • Mitchell, Kristina, Developing Country Success in WTO Disputes, 47 Journal of World Trade 77 (2013).

  • Nottage, Hunter, “Trade and Development”, in Daniel Bethlehem et al. (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of International Trade Law (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009).

  • Nottage, Hunter, David versus Goliath: An Evaluation of the Participation of Commonwealth Small States and Least-Developed Countries in WTO Dispute Settlement and an Analysis of the Constraints They Face (Commonwealth Secretariat Paper, November 2012) (unpublished, on file with author).

  • O’Connor, Bernard and Margareta Djordjevic, Practical Aspects of Monetary Compensation: The US – Copyright Case, 8 Journal of International Economic Law 127 (2005). [Crossref]

  • Palmer, Doug, US Warns Antigua against “Government-Authorized Piracy”, Reuters, 28 January 2013, available at: <http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/28/us-usa-antigua-piracy-idUSBRE90R12G20130128>.

  • Rugwabiza, Valentine, Africa Should Trade More with Africa to Secure Future Growth, 12 April 2012, available at: <http://www.wto.org/english/news_e/news12_e/ddg_12apr12_e.htm>.

  • Shaffer, Gregory, “Developing Country Use of the WTO Dispute Settlement System: Why It Matters, the Barriers Posed”, in James Hartigan (ed.), Trade Disputes and the Dispute Settlement Understanding of the WTO: An Interdisciplinary Assessment (Bingley: Emerald, 2009).

  • Schropp, Simon, “The Equivalence Standard under Article 22.4 of the DSU: A “Tariffic” Misunderstanding?”, in Chad Bown and Joost Pauwelyn (eds.), The Law, Economics and Politics of Retaliation in WTO Dispute Settlement (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010).

  • Shepherd, Jordan et al., Effective Compliance in the DSU: The Mechanics of Monetary Compensation as a Form of Reparation, Trade and Investment Law Clinic Papers, Graduate Institute (Geneva, 2012).

  • Wilson, Bruce, Compliance by WTO Members with Adverse WTO Dispute Settlement Rulings: The Record to Date, 10 Journal of International Economic Law 397 (2007). [Crossref]

  • Zeng, Ka, Legal Capacity and Developing Country Performance in the Panel Stage of the WTO Dispute Settlement System, 47 Journal of World Trade 187 (2013).

Official documents

  • Arbitration, Case Concerning the Air Services Agreement of 27 March 1946 (US/France), XVIII RIAA 417, 9 December 1978.

  • Brazil and United States, Framework Agreement for a Mutually Agreed Solution to the Cotton Dispute in the World Trade Organization (WT/DS267), signed in August 2010, available at: <http://www.ustr.gov/webfm_send/1996>.

  • GATT Secretariat, Measures to Deal with Members in Category IV of the Administrative Arrangements on Arrears, GATT Docs PC/7, L/7578, 13 December 1994.

  • WTO Arbitrators Decision, EC – Bananas III (US) (Article 22.6–EC), WT/DS27/ARB, 9 April 1999.

  • WTO Arbitrators Decision, EC – Bananas III (Ecuador) (Article 22.6–EC), WT/DS27/ARB/ECU, 24 March 2000a.

  • WTO Arbitrators Decision, Brazil – Aircraft (Article 22.6–Brazil), WT/DS46/ARB, 28 August 2000b.

  • WTO Arbitrators Decision, US – 1916 Act (EC) (Article 22.6–US), WT/DS136/ARB, 24 February 2004

  • WTO Arbitrators Decision, US – Gambling (Article 22.6–US), WT/DS285/ARB, 21 December 2007.

  • WTO Arbitrators Decision, US – Upland Cotton (Article 22.6 DSU and Article 4.1 SCM – US), WT/DS267/ARB/1, 31 August 2009.

  • WTO Arbitrators Decision, US – Upland Cotton (Article 22.6 DSU and Article 7.10 SCM – US), WT/DS267/ARB/2, 31 August 2009.

  • WTO Dispute Settlement Body, DSU Negotiations – Special and Differential Treatment for Developing Countries – Proposals on DSU by Cuba, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, TN/DS/W/19, 9 October 2002.

  • WTO Dispute Settlement Body, DSU Negotiations – Proposal by Mexico, TN/DS/W/23, 4 November 2002.

  • WTO Dispute Settlement Body, Minutes of Meeting Held on 13–15 November 2002, TN/DS/M/6, 31 March 2003.

  • WTO Dispute Settlement Body, Notification of a Mutually Satisfactory Temporary Arrangement, WT/DS160/23, 23 June 2003.

  • WTO Dispute Settlement Body, US – Gambling – Recourse by Antigua and Barbuda to Article 22.2 of the DSU, WT/DS285/22, 22 June 2007.

  • WTO Dispute Settlement Body, Special Session – Report by the Chairman, JOB(08)/81, 18 July 2008.

  • WTO Dispute Settlement Body, Special Session – Report by the Chairman, TN/DS/23, 5 December 2008.

  • WTO Dispute Settlement Body, Special Session – Report by the Chairman, TN/DS/25, 21 April 2011.

  • WTO Dispute Settlement Body, Informal Meeting of the DSB Special Session, 30 September 2011–Chairman’s Remarks: Summary of Recent Work (Week of 26 September 2011), JOB/DS/4, 26 October 2011.

  • WTO Dispute Settlement Body, EC and Certain Member States – Large Civil Aircraft (Recourse to Article 7.9 of the SCM Agreement and Article 22.2 of the DSU by the United States), WT/DS316/18, 12 December 2011.

  • WTO Dispute Settlement Body, Informal Meeting of the DSB Special Session, 8 June 2012–Chairman’s Remarks: Summary of Recent Work (Week of 4 June 2012), JOB/DS/10, 15 June 2012.

  • WTO Dispute Settlement Body, US – Large Civil Aircraft (Second Complaint) (Recourse to Article 22.2 of the DSU, and Articles 4.10 and 7.9 of the SCM Agreement, by the European Union), WT/DS353/17, 2 October 2012.

  • WTO Dispute Settlement Body, US – Gambling (Recourse by Antigua and Barbuda to Article 22.7), WT/DS285/25, 13 December 2012.

  • WTO Dispute Settlement Body, Minutes of Meeting on 28 January 2013, WT/DSB/M/328, 22 March 2013.

  • WTO General Council, Minutes of Meeting on 11 December 2012, WT/GC/M/141, 2012.

About the article

Published Online: 2013-08-30


Citation Information: The Law and Development Review, ISSN (Online) 1943-3867, ISSN (Print) 2194-6523, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ldr-2013-0020. Export Citation

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