Transparency and Dispute Settlement in WTO

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WTO fosters transparency and provides countries with a platform to discuss needs and differences regarding trade.

One of the tools employed to enhance transparency is the Trade Policy Review. The trade policy of each WTO member is periodically reviewed by the other members (peer reviews). Two reports on the reviewed country's trade policy are compiled: one by the WTO-Secretariat and one by the
government of the country concerned. These reports serve as a source of information and a basis for discussion. Interested countries can ask questions to the reviewed member within the framework of the Trade Policy Review. This provides transparency and all countries are given
the opportunity to present their trade-related interests.

A key element of the WTO is dispute settlement: WTO members have made a commitment not to take unilateral measures in cases of trade disputes, but instead to make use of the WTO dispute settlement procedure. In the case of a dispute, the trade issues in question are discussed by different panels and finally - should the parties have been unable to negotiate a solution - a decision is taken regarding the possible breach of WTO legislation. If such a breach exists, the infringing party is then requested to bring its policy in line with WTO rules. The injured party only has the right to take retaliatory measures if the infringing party does not comply. The WTO dispute settlement procedure is an efficient instrument to maintain compliance with international trade regulations and has a balancing effect: small countries can sometimes win cases against larger trading powers in the settlement procedure. 

Further Information

Last modification 12.08.2016

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