The Role of Lawyers in the World Trade Organization

By Ehrenhaft, Peter D. | Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, October 2001 | Go to article overview

The Role of Lawyers in the World Trade Organization


Ehrenhaft, Peter D., Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law


The World Trade Organization is a marvelously ambitious effort of now 140 countries to bring the rule of law to international trade. The WTO is a logical extension of the inspired ideas of the draftsmen of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), who recognized at the end of World War II that the seeds of that conflagration were sown, in part, by the chaotic condition of international trade following World War I.

During that inter-war period, the United States adopted its Antidumping Act of 1921 and its Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930. Both survive to this day. By 1934, however, the Roosevelt Administration proposed reciprocal trade agreements intended to soften the impact of the barriers to our markets those laws created. The GATT was a logical extension of that concept, essentially enshrining as the two keystones of freer trade "national treatment" and "most-favored nation" commitments. Indeed, the GATT is sometimes characterized as two paragraphs--with two thousand pages of exceptions. The WTO Agreements now cover twenty-seven thousand pages.

From the beginning, the GATT addressed the settlement of disputes between trading nations. Disputes were recognized as inevitable. The GATT dispute resolution procedure was part mediation and part arbitration. It depended on the good offices of experienced representatives of unaffected members to help the disputing parties find common ground to settle their differences. Increasingly, however, particularly representatives of the United States sought a more rigorous procedure leading to a judgment that one party was right and the other one was wrong--and the latter had either to correct its ways or provide compensation to the aggrieved complainant.

Increased American attachment to this rule of law model through the 1980s prompted U.S. negotiators of the WTO agreements to seek a greatly strengthened Dispute Settlement Body (DSB). This Body maintained the previous system of panels to hear--and settle--trade disputes. In addition, an Appellate Body was to be created with semi-permanent judges to review the legal issues raised in panel reports. Moreover, and critically, the judgment of a panel was to be implemented by the affected parties unless a consensus of all the WTO's members decided it need not be adopted.

Paradoxically, although these results of the WTO negotiations appeared to be a triumph of the rule of law, the United States, in particular, was quite diffident about the notion that private lawyers should have a role in the system. The concern of the United States about including private lawyers as participants in the dispute resolution procedures of the WTO sprang from a number of factors. They included, first, a fear that such lawyers might be excessively aggressive and unable or unwilling to recognize the possible advantages of compromise and only partial victory. Concern was also expressed about such lawyers' possible conflicts of interest and their inability to keep confidential the information to which they might be given access in the course of such proceedings. In negotiating the NAFTA before the conclusion of the Uruguay Round creating the WTO, both Canadian and U.S. negotiators were reluctant to give private counsel the right to appear on behalf of specific industries or economic interests in their countries before NAFTA dispute settlement bodies--other than under Chapter 19 that created special panels in lieu of court review of antidumping and countervailing duty orders. Neither government wanted the lawyers for U.S. Steel to argue independently for their client's views in other NAFTA--or, later, WTO--fora, lest it lessen the governments' ultimate control of their trade policy.

This perspective, arguably proper in the NAFTA context, lacked an appreciation of the problem of many members of the WTO. Small and often new states in the organization rarely employ experienced WTO specialists in their governments. They often lack any lawyers versed in WTO procedures, able to represent their positions in WTO dispute settlement proceedings. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Role of Lawyers in the World Trade Organization
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.