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The WTO Dispute Settlement Mechanism: A Trade Court for the World

By Henry Gao
May 2018
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This paper examines the reasons behind the underutilisation of dispute settlement mechanisms in regional trade agreements (RTAs). It suggests that countries could use the World Trade Organization dispute settlement mechanism for RTA disputes and illustrates the main arguments and forward-looking elements behind this approach.

The paper is part of the RTA Exchange on Dispute Settlement project. It is aimed at analysing experiences and best practices, with a view to cultivating creative ideas for global trade policymaking and facilitating the enforcement of RTAs, taking into account their practical feasibility and the political realities.

The RTA Exchange, jointly implemented by the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), is a platform that convenes purposeful multi-stakeholder dialogues that work in the interest of constructing better trade and investment agreements for sustainable development at the regional and multilateral levels.

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