Dispute settlement

Resolving trade disputes is one of the core activities of the WTO. A dispute arises when a member government believes another member government is violating an agreement or a commitment that it has made in the WTO. The WTO has one of the most active international dispute settlement mechanisms in the world. Since 1995, over 500 disputes have been brought to the WTO and over 350 rulings have been issued.

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Introduction to dispute settlement in the WTO


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Dispute settlement process


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Dispute Settlement Body

The General Council convenes as the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) to deal with disputes between WTO members.


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The Appellate Body

Appeals are handled by the permanent seven-member Appellate Body which is set up by the Dispute Settlement Body and broadly represents the range of WTO membership.


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Interpretation of WTO agreements

The WTO Analytical Index is a comprehensive guide to the interpretation and application of the WTO agreements by the Appellate Body, dispute settlement panels and other WTO bodies. It contains extracts of key pronouncements and findings from tens of thousands of pages of WTO jurisprudence, including panel reports, Appellate Body reports, arbitral decisions and awards, and decisions of WTO committees, councils and other WTO bodies.

The WTO Appellate Body Repertory of Reports and Awards covers the Appellate Body's rulings in WTO disputes since its establishment in 1995.


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Negotiations to improve dispute settlement procedures

At the Doha Ministerial Conference, in 2001, WTO members agreed to negotiate to improve and clarify the DSU — the rules and procedures governing the settlement of WTO disputes.


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Secretariat's informal consultations concerning the panel process

At the request of the Director-General, the Secretariat initiated in 2010 a process of informal consultations with a view to exploring whether it is possible to find efficiency gains in the panel process.



> WTO Dispute Settlement: Resolving trade disputes between WTO members


> The WTO Dispute Settlement Procedures — Third Edition

> WTO Dispute Settlement: One-Page Case Summaries (2015 edition)

> Analytical Index
Find jurisprudence by Agreement, Article or index term

> Appellate Body Repertory of Reports and Awards 1995-2013

> Buy the book: Dispute Settlement Reports from Cambridge University Press (co-publisher). This is the only WTO-authorized paginated version.