Monday, 9 November 2009

The road to free trade: 400th accident missed (or settled?)

The WTO recently issued a press release o celebrate the 400th dispute passing through the gate of centre william rappard. DG Lamy noted that "this is surely a vote of confidence in a system which many consider to be a role model for the peaceful resolution of disputes in other areas of international political or economic relations".  While that may well be the case, one may also argue that had Members really had such confidence in the system, they wouldn't have brought so many disputes in the first place. Another thing worth noting is that the number of disputes have greatly decreased after the first decade, which saw an average of 30 cases brought every year. Does this mean that the system has worked so well in deterring trade disputes from arising in the first place, or that people are losing confidence in the system so that they resort to other means and don't bother to bring cases anymore?

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