The purpose of this paper is to show that, instead of replacing trade retaliation with alternatives that are equally problematic, such as monetary damages, mandatory trade compensation, or formal membership sanctions, the World Trade Organization (WTO) might gain from relying exclusively on informal remedies.
The paper critically reviews the main proposals brought forward in the literature and by WTO members on how to reform WTO remedies. It takes a fresh look at whether any viable, both economically and legally sensitive, alternatives exist.
First, the fact that WTO dispute settlement does not rely on monetary damages and on reparation for past losses is economically justified. Second, switching to an alternative remedy of mandatory trade compensation is not a viable alternative to proportional countermeasures. Third, introducing formal membership sanctions into the WTO would either remain ineffective or turn out to be counterproductive for progressive trade liberalization. Fourth, in order not to provoke an excessive increase of the total cost for WTO members to breach their obligations, any strengthening of the WTO's informal remedies should not be undertaken on top of existing remedies, but as part of a major paradigm shift built on the abrogation of trade retaliation.
The article contributes to the ongoing debate on how to reform the WTO's dispute settlement mechanism.
This article joins an already vast body of literature dealing with potential reforms of the WTO's dispute settlement mechanism. It provides a holistic review of the main existing reform proposals under both legal and economic aspects and adds original insights in discussing the replacement of trade remedies by strengthened informal remedies.
Zimmermann, C. (2012), "Strengthening the WTO by replacing trade retaliation with stronger informal remedies?", Journal of International Trade Law and Policy, Vol. 11 No. 1, pp. 82-102. https://doi.org/10.1108/14770021211210704Download as .RIS
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