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Punching above their weight: the new place of developing countries in the WTO

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Learning from the failures of the GATT, WTO set up a freely accessible Dispute Settlement Mechanism to resolve the trade disputes.

Yet since 1995, developing countries have argued that the system is biased in favour of the most powerful countries. According to them, the size of their markets does not allow them to engage with industrial states on equal terms based on the traditional framework of retaliation within trade. 

This paper aims at exploring the opportunities offered by cross-retaliation in TRIPS – under article 22.3 of the Dispute Settlement Understanding – to developing states in enforcing favourable rulings. It concludes that in the wake of the Ecuadorian example, the possibility of suspending concessions in the sector of intellectual property might shift the balance of power within the DSM back towards developing countries. This may in turn bring about a new era of compliance within the trade organisation.

 

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