Handbook of the International Political Economy of Trade
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Handbook of the International Political Economy of Trade

Edited by David Deese

David A. Deese brings together leading researchers and writers from different countries and disciplines in a coherent framework to highlight the most important and promising research and policy questions regarding international trade. The content includes fundamental theory about trade as international communication and its effects on growth and inequality; the domestic politics of trade and trends in government trade policies; the implications of bilateral and regional trade (and investment) agreements; key issues of how trade is governed globally; and how trade continues to define and advance globalization from immigration to the internet.
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Chapter 15: Trade policy review and dispute settlement at the WTO

Marc D. Froese


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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