Working Paper No. 960

In the Shadow of the DSU: Addressing Specific Trade Concerns in the WTO SPS and TBT Committees

Published: March 12, 2013Pages: 39Keywords: WTO; Specific trade concerns; SPS and TBT Committees; Dispute settlementJEL-codes: F13; K32; K33
Published version

In the Shadow of the DSU: Addressing Specific Trade Concerns in the WTO SPS and TBT Committees Henrik Horn, Petros C. Mavroidis and Erik N. Wijkström


The paper argues that focusing only on disputes formally raised in the WTO Dispute Settlement system underestimates the extent of trade conflict resolution within the WTO.  Both the SPS and TBT Committees address a significant number of ‘specific trade concerns’ (STCs) that in the overwhelming majority of cases do not become formal disputes. The STCs address differences between Members concerning the conformity of national measures in the SPS and TBT areas with these agreements. It appears as if Committee work on STCs significantly helps defuse potential trade frictions concerning national policies in the covered areas.

Henrik Horn

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