Trade dispute settlement in wto: in special reference to the India

International Journal of Development Research

Article ID: 
5 pages
Research Article

Trade dispute settlement in wto: in special reference to the India

Ritu Sharma


As a part of the Bretton Woods System, International Trade Organization (ITO) wassupposed to formulate and implement the rules of ‘free and fair’ trade in ‘goods’. As it turned outto be a blue-baby, in 1948 GATT emerged as an ‘agreement’ with 23 contracting parties. It wasonly in January 1995 that a full-fledged institution, i.e., WTO was established withresponsibilities akin to those conceived in ITO Charter. However, the agenda of WTO is muchwider in scope as compared to the ITO. A unique feature of WTO is its dispute settlementprocedure (DSP). DSP details the legal procedure for a member nation which deviates from ‘freeand fair’ trade. It is important to mention that ‘WTO-consistent free trade’ does not implycomplete removal of trade barriers across nations. If free trade in WTO framework does notimply complete removal of trade barriers then ‘fair’ trade’ becomes a contentious issue andamenable to various interpretations. The DSP of WTO is supposed to be a jury on interpretationswhen a dispute arises between the nations. WTO is regarded as superior to its predecessor GATT due to its sound legal basis. The procedures to be followed and the time frame to be adhered to in resolving disputes under WTO regime have been documented with great precision. The scope and organization of this paper are as follows. Section 2 examines the scope for deviating from free trade as permitted within the WTO framework. Section 3 details the tradedispute settlement mechanism embedded in the WTO framework.. Section 4 discuss trade disputes in which India has been involved either as a complainant or as arespondent. The paper attempts to evaluate WTO’s legal system with respect to the followingcriteria: (i) the scope of using WTO dispute settlement mechanism towards protectionism; (ii)effective access to legal system by the developing and least developed countries; (iii) time requiredfor delivering ruling; and, (iv) effectiveness of rulings as a deterrent to wrongdoings.

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