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The World Trade Organization dispute settlement mechanism and the South Pacific island nations’ participation

Golman, Wilfred (2017) The World Trade Organization dispute settlement mechanism and the South Pacific island nations’ participation. USP Press, Suva, Fiji. ISBN 978-982-01-0962-9

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The World Trade Organization (WTO) Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU) was established in 1995, and provides a set of rules to govern resolution of trade disputes amongst WTO member countries, and since inception, the WTO has dealt with almost 500 trade dispute cases, to-date. The book was a result of a research which focus was on the fact that South Pacific Island Nation (SPIN) countries were notably absent from the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Mechanism (DSM) process and attempted to illuminate why participation was weak or underutilized. Although many commentators argued the DSM functions well, the focus of academic discussion concentrates on how it had been used, rather than why it had not been used, by majority of the states, mostly the least and developing member countries. There was continuing debate as to whether it accommodated the interests of the developing or least-developed members. Central to the debate was the issue of Fairness in WTO Dispute Settlement decisions. WTO dispute settlement was guided by the principle that ‘every member was equal before the law,’ and was designed to offer due process, provide accessibility to dispute settlement, and options for settling trade disputes to all members. Conversely, it was argued the process favors richer countries as they were able to argue more effectively and settle their cases. The poorer countries were disadvantaged by constraints on their ability to pursue any trade infringements at the WTO level. This book focused on discovering the roots of why DSM utilization was weak or nonexistent in five WTO SPIN members: Fiji, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Samoa. Though similar to those of many other developing and least-developed countries found in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and elsewhere, the SPIN’s relatively neophyte development and integration in international trade may exacerbate issues of access and constraints faced in the use of WTO’s DSM. Although the importance of an adequate trade-policy infrastructure was not to be underestimated, SPIN’s under-utilization of the process appeared to be rooted in the nature of the DSM itself, although the added impediments of high entry barriers, skewed retaliation system and SPIN’s development orientation impact decisions to take contested trade issues to the WTO Appellate Body for settlement. Employing an interview-questionnaire research methodology, questions evolved from five (5) arenas: cultural, political, legal, economic and null, i.e., when positive responses were not forthcoming, e.g., no conflicts have met the legal threshold required, or no conflict had come to government notice, the core question was why have SPIN WTO members not approached the WTO dispute settlement process and engaged DSM opportunities. The book concludes with an analyses of the position of SPIN countries in the WTO and potential solutions for mitigating SPIN marginality in relation to the DSM.

Item Type: Book
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Law and Education (FALE) > School of Law
Depositing User: Fulori Nainoca - Waqairagata
Date Deposited: 02 Jul 2017 21:35
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2018 00:17

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