Implementation in WTO Dispute Settlement:
An Introduction to the Problems and Possible Solutions

Author Name William J. DAVEY
Creation Date/NO. March 2005 05-E-013
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To assess the effectiveness of the dispute settlement system of the World Trade Organization (WTO), it is necessary to evaluate whether WTO members promptly take the actions required to bring themselves into compliance with their WTO obligations, as those obligations have been defined or clarified in the dispute settlement reports issued by WTO panels and the Appellate Body. In this paper, the operation of the WTO dispute settlement system is briefly outlined, with particular emphasis on the overall time taken by the various stages. This is followed by an analysis of the implementation record for disputes brought under the WTO - both overall and on a member-by-member and agreement-by-agreement basis, with consideration of the types and disputes that have proved problematic. The conclusion of this paper is as follows: while overall record of implementation is relatively good, there are problem areas. Those problems could be mitigated with the modification of remedies provided for in the WTO dispute settlement so that (i) money payments could be substituted for the right to suspend concessions; (ii) such payments or suspension of concessions could be calculated on a retrospective basis; and (iii) such payments or suspension of concessions could be increased periodically over time in the event of continued non-implementation.