Friday, June 8, 2012

Annual Report of the WTO 2012

The Annual Report of the WTO 2012 makes interesting reading. As the WTO website states it "provides a brief summary of the organization, an overview of 2011 and a detailed review of the WTO's main areas of activity: trade negotiations; implementation of WTO agreements and trade monitoring; dispute settlement; building trade capacity; and outreach."

The Annual Report is a good summation of WTO's activities for the year. The section on the Dispute Settlement mechanism caught my attention. A review of the disputes filed from 1995 to 2011 which is depicted in a map reveals the following:
"The most active users of the system are the United States (98), the European Union (85), Canada (33), Brazil (25), Mexico (21) and India (19). In eight of the last ten years, the filing of disputes by developing countries has come to equal or surpass the total by developed countries."
It is worth noting that the African continent, South East Asia, many countries in South America ( with the exceptions of Brazil and Argentina) and Australia have largely not utilised the Dispute Settlement mechanism of the WTO as compared to the countries mentioned above. 2011 saw the lowest number of cases being filed at the DSB (8). 1996 to 1998 saw the maximum number of cases being filed annually at the DSB whereas recent years has seen a drop.

The Annual report is a very good summation of the WTO's activities and is like a common person's guide to what the WTO does. Its simplicity, wonderful use of graphics and brevity makes it an easy and must read.

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