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South Centre

The South Centre Quarterly on Trade Disputes
Volume 1, Issue 2

Tracking developments in international trade disputes

South Centre

April – June 2005

SARPN acknowledges South Centre as the source of this document.
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About the quarterly

International trade dispute settlement is now prominent. In particular, WTO dispute settlement has become a very important part of the multilateral trading system and is playing an increasingly crucial role in WTO rule interpretation. The panel and Appellate Body reports show how the provisions of the various WTO agreements should be interpreted and applied to real cases in real life. The developing jurisprudence might support the process towards a fairer market oriented trading system but it can also undermine the carefully negotiated and drafted texts of the Uruguay Round agreements. It is therefore important for developing countries to be aware of the potential utility, as well as the potential adverse impacts, of the WTO dispute settlement mechanism vis-а-vis their concerns in the negotiations.

The main purpose of this quarterly is to provide analyses, from a developing country perspective, of the various legal, political and process-related issues arising from WTO dispute settlement. However, the coverage will also extend, where necessary, to bilateral and regional trade disputes. By being equipped with such analyses, developing countries will be better positioned to understand how they can use the rules to ensure that their benefits are maximized under the multilateral trading system.

The quarterly is divided into several parts, namely: concise analyses of WTO panel and Appellate Body reports or of international trade disputes in other forums – this part will sometimes carry general articles pertaining to trade disputes; brief descriptions of notable dispute settlement reports or new or pending disputes; and, sometimes, updates on WTO Dispute Settlement Understanding review negotiations. It is hoped that the publication will be useful not only to developing country officials engaged in international trade negotiations and trade policy formulation, but also to scholars, academics and others interested in WTO matters and international trade law generally.

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