Loyola University Chicago

School of Law

Panel #4 Discussion Questions for Developing Countries and WTO Dispute Settlement

International Law Review 2008 Symposium

"WTO Law and Practice: The State of the Discipline"

Debra Steger


  1. Why has developing country use of the WTO dispute settlement system, particularly as complainants, increased so significantly in the past few years?

  2. What role do private counsel really play in influencing developing countries' strategic choices to bring cases as complainants?  Is this a key factor in the increase in developing country complaints?


  3. Are developing countries bringing cases in the WTO for strategic reasons, i.e. to influence negotiations on substantive or systemic issues, or primarily to resolve commercial disputes with key trading partners?


  4. In addition to lack of capacity and resources, what are the key reasons why some developing countries do not participate in dispute settlement?  Why have Latin American countries been so heavily involved in dispute settlement and Asian countries not involved despite the rapid growth in Asian economies in recent years?


  5. What impact are the regional trade agreements having on the recourse to WTO dispute settlement by developing countries?  Are they a factor and if so, how?  As the number of RTAs continues to grow, will there be increasing conflicts between dispute settlement under the RTAs and under the WTO?


  6. Why do developing countries implement WTO dispute settlement rulings faster and more frequently than developed countries?  Does power still matter at the implementation stage?


  7. How can developing countries better mobilize their private sectors to actively engage them in policy making and strategic use of dispute settlement?