Dispute Settlement Mechanism under GATT
Volume III, Issue VI, 2020
GATT Dispute Settlement has its own objective. It provides an orderly mechanism for deciding whether a Member has complied with its obligations under the Covered Agreements and an obligation, if a Member is found to be in breach, to ‘bring the measure into conformity’ with the relevant agreement, in effect to remove the offending measure. That is a process more akin to civil litigation in domestic systems, not to a criminal law process where the objective is to identify a wrongdoer and provide for punishment for the wrong.The GATT’s Dispute Settlement Body, with its Panel and Appeal stages, functions much more like a court, part of the effort to create a system of dispute resolution more rule based than power based. Appellate body rulings are the final word in trade disputes. Member States found to be in violation of one or more articles are expected to bring its legislation and actions into conformity with their WTO obligations. If an offending member fails to respond appropriately, the Dispute Settlement Body can authorize the injured Member to levy retaliatory tariffs. This paper aims to explain the stages under dispute settlement mechanism under GATT.
Keywords: Appellate Body, WTO, Dispute Settlement Body, Pane