Handbooks of Research on International Political Economy series
Edited by David Deese
Chapter 15: Trade policy review and dispute settlement at the WTO
The Trade Policy Review Mechanism (TPRM) was established at the GATT in 1989, and was one of the first substantive institution-building outcomes of the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations (Ostry 1997: 201). It is also one of the most significant examples of a workable transparency-enhancing mechanism in the realm of international economic law (Marceau and Hurley 2012). The Trade Policy Review Body offers multilateral oversight and Secretariat research and support that constitute trade policy review (TPR) at the WTO (Barton et al. 2006: 18–19). By the end of 2011, the TPRM had undertaken 256 individual reviews of members’ trade policies, and had developed a process by which the world’s largest traders receive the most scrutiny, with the four largest traders (the US, the EU, Japan, China) being reviewed every two years, the following 16 largest economies reviewed every four years and the remainder 137 undergoing review every six years. In the years immediately following implementation, a number of scholars examined the implications of the new mechanism for policy transparency among members of the GATT, and later the WTO (Qureshi 1990; Curzon Price 1991). Given the fact that much of this interest in the TPRM occurred before the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Mechanism (DSM) was created, very little attention has been devoted to the study of policy review as its functions relate to the DSM (Chaisse and Chakraborty 2007).
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