Why is there so little litigation under free trade agreements?: retaliation and adjudication in international dispute settlement

Over the past decade, the WTO dispute settlement system has continued to be used extensively, contrasting with the very few disputes taken to inter-state adjudication under FTAs. This paper discusses the causes of this discrepancy, arguing that, besides specific procedural difficulties, it may be explained by a more structural difference between adjudication in a multilateral and in a bilateral setting. The WTO's global scope and the collective surveillance established by the DSU ensure that findings of breach harm a wrongdoer's reputation and mobilize community pressure for compliance. Because adjudication within an FTA cannot mobilize the same multilateral forces, it may not only be less effective than WTO adjudication – it may also be perceived as less effective than unilateral retaliation.

Publication infos:
Geneva, The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Centre for Trade and Economic Integration, 2017
Publication year:
Number of pages:
27 p. : ill.
CTEI Working Paper ; 2017-14

 Record created 2017-10-03, last modified 2018-01-28

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