Dispute settlement is the central pillar of the multilateral trading system and the WTO’s unique contribution to the stability of the global economy. Disputes in the WTO are essentially about broken promises. A dispute arises when one country adopts a trade policy measure or takes some action that one or more fellow WTO members considers to be breaking the WTO agreements or failing to live up to obligations. Without a means of settling disputes, the rules-based system would be less effective because the rules could not be enforced. The WTO’s procedure underscores the rule of law, and it makes the trading system more secure and predictable. The system is based on clearly defined rules with timetables for completing a case.
This volume provides a succinct summary of the key findings of every dispute panel report up to the end of 2011 and, where applicable, the subsequent Appellate Body report. Each one-page summary comprises three sections: the core facts; the key findings contained in the reports; and, where relevant, other matters of particular significance.
The disputes are presented in chronological order (by dispute settlement number). Two indexes at the end of the publication list the disputes by WTO agreement and by WTO member responding to the complaint.