BloombergBusinessweek has a piece on China's engagement in the WTO's Dispute Settlement mechanism. These interesting graphics depict, according to the author, China's tit for tat policy of reverting to the dispute resolution process when taken to it.
The issue of the Chinese practice of engaging foreign lawyers seemed interesting in the above piece:
"U.S. lawyers in particular have helped China learn the ropes. Three Washington law firms—Sidley Austin, Steptoe & Johnson, and Hogan Lovells US—that have offices in Beijing are among the Chinese government’s favorites for helping it litigate at the WTO. “If it’s a really important or technical trade issue and they’re a first party, I’m not aware of a case where they didn’t hire a foreign lawyer and encourage or require them to team up with a local or Chinese lawyer,” says Daniel Crosby, a partner at King & Spalding in Geneva."
While China has engaged Foreign expertise, do all developing countries have the werewithal to do this? It is often suggested that developing countries must develop their legal capacity to engage with the WTO dispute settlement. WTO legal rules are often complex and engaging. They involve intricate questions of law and fact, often dragging on for years. Nevertheless, as suggested here WTO dispute resolution process in the context of international trade is a positive factor.
"For all its flaws, the WTO process works more quickly than many countries’ court systems. And, supporters say, it’s a big improvement on what existed before the WTO’s 1994 establishment. Before that, “there were two ways to settle trade disputes—a war, or power politics, where the bigger economy or the bigger power just did whatever it wanted,” says Fredrik Erixon, director of the European Center for International Political Economy, a Brussels-based think tank. The WTO, he says, “has had a profound impact.”
Thus, a country must develop national legal capabilities which consist of interdisciplinary teams to engage, in consonance with national developmental agendas, with the dispute settlement mechanism. The question whether China's "tit for tat" policy is worrisome or a justifiable use of the dispute resolution process is another issue.