DISPUTE SETTLEMENT SYSTEM TRAINING MODULE: CHAPTER 12
Evaluation of the WTO dispute settlement system: results to date
Although there is broad consensus that the current (WTO) dispute settlement system has worked reasonably well, there also is a widely shared view that improvements are desirable. Since the new WTO dispute settlement system was substantially different from the old system, the ministers of the WTO Members called for a full review of the DSU within four years after the entry into force of the WTO Agreement when they concluded the Uruguay Round.1 This review started in 1997 but did not result in any agreed outcomes.
Building “on the work done thus far”, the Doha Ministerial Declaration contained a mandate for “negotiations on improvements and clarifications” of the DSU.2 Despite intensive negotiations over the past year and a half3 and significant progress in many areas, Members were unable to conclude negotiations by the end of the deadline stipulated in the Doha Ministerial Declaration (end of May 2003). A proposal to extend the deadline until May 2004 was agreed by the General Council at its meeting in July 2003.4
1. Marrakesh Ministerial Decision on the Application and Review of the Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes of 14 April 1994. back to text
2. World Trade Organization, Ministerial Declaration, Fourth Session of the Ministerial Conference, WT/MIN(01)/DEC/1, 9-14 November 2001, para. 30. back to text
3. The Members’ reform proposals tabled to date are accessible at http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/dispu_e/dispu_e.htm. back to text