Friday, December 14, 2012

Long running trade disputes and the WTO

The WTO dispute settlement is praised for its effectiveness and enforceability. In the international context, it is one of the few "judicial systems" that has credibility as a rule based system that offers penalties and has a greater prospect of implementablity without being drowned in the power play of world politics.

However, the time taken to resolve certain disputes does cast a shadow on the efficacy of the system. Though the DSU has mandated clear time frames, some politically sensitive disputes have lingered on. The WTO recently was witness to the signing of a "historic" trade agreement between the EU and Latin American countries ending a nearly 20 year old dispute over bananas. This traces the long journey of the dispute at the WTO.

Will we see a similar bilateral or plurilateral agreement over the issue of subsidies to manufacture of large civilian aircrafts which is epitomized by the Airbus-Boeing dispute that is slowly nearing a decade now?


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