AN ANALYSIS OF THE DISPUTE SETTLEMENT BODY OF THE WORLD TRADE ORGANISATION

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ABSTRACT


The World Trade Organization (WTO) was established with the primary function of
ensuring the smooth and free flow of trade and services. At the heart of the WTO, is the
Dispute Settlement System that ensures that disputes are resolved as soon as possible.
This research aims at analyzing the role of the WTO and its Dispute Settlement body in
settling trade disputes. This research specifically examines the WTO Dispute Settlement
System; identities the objectives of the system and whether or not the system allows for
the actualization of these objectives. The research also evaluates its performance and
makes recommendations based on research findings.The essence of the research is how
the system can be made more effective and accessible to developing and least developed
member nations especially Africa. In undertaking this task, the research employs the
doctrinal research method. Trade disputes in the WTO usually arisewhen a member state
or states take a measure or measures that the WTO considers to be inconsistent with the
obligations set out in the WTO agreements. Settling trade disputes in a timely and
structured manner is important in order to realize the practical value of the commitments
of the member states. The central objective of the WTO Dispute Settlement System is to
provide quick and accessible dispute resolution to the multilateral trade system. In
addition, the system is to preserve and clarify the rights and obligations of the members
under the WTO Agreements, as well as ensure that disputes are settled promptly. In
carrying out its mandate, the WTO Dispute Settlement System has decided several
disputes among member nations of the WTO, covering diverse areas of the WTO
agreements. In fact, the performance of the WTO Dispute Settlement System has been
generally described as an ongoing institution that needs a lot of reforms. The Dispute
Settlement System has many challenges, obstacles and problems, which make it
impossible for it to achieve its set out goal perfectly. Thus, the objectives of the system
have not been satisfactorily met due to implementation problems, inadequate funding,
lack of transparency and access to the system, ad hoc nature of panels, as well as lacuna
in the DSB. Considering the importance of the WTO’s role of settling trade disputes to
the stability of the global economy, adequate attention ought to have given to the system.
Accordingly, the DSB should be adequately funded that would meet the increased
workload of the DSB. The lacuna in the DSU should be corrected and the system made
more transparent and accessible to the public. Furthermore, the system aught adopt
adequate panelist that can meet the increased complexity of the substance of cases
presented before panels. The Research will explore how the DSB can better serve the
interest of third world countries and Africa.

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