World Trade Organization: Standard of Review and Impact of Trade Remedy Rulings Page: 2 of 128
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' Accountability* Integrity* Reliability
Highlights of GAO-03-824, a report to the
Ranking Minority Member, Committee on
Finance, U.S. Senate
WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION
Standard of Review and Impact of Trade
Why GAO Did This Study
World Trade Organization (WTO)
members rely on trade remedies in
the form of duties or other import
restrictions to protect their
industries from injury due to unfair
foreign trade practices or
unexpected import surges. There
is congressional concern that the
WTO, created in 1995 to administer
trade rules, is interfering with this
ability. There is also congressional
concern that the WTO is not
treating the United States fairly in
resolving trade remedy disputes.
A congressional requester asked
GAO to identify trends in WTO
trade remedy disputes since 1995,
including the outcomes of these
disputes and how they affected
members' ability to impose trade
remedies. The requester also asked
GAO to discuss the standards of
review that the WTO applies when
ruling on trade remedy disputes
and to present U.S. agencies' and
legal experts' views on the WTO's
application of these standards and
related trade remedy issues.
In their comments on a draft of this
report, the Department of
Commerce and the U.S.
International Trade Commission
stated that the report needed to put
more emphasis on U.S. agencies'
concerns about the potential
adverse impact of WTO rulings on
the U.S.'s use of trade remedies.
The U.S. Trade Representative
provided only technical comments
on the report. GAO modified the
report as appropriate.
To view the full product, including the scope
and methodology, click on the link above.
For more information, contact Loren Yager at
(202) 512-4346 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
What GAO Found
About a third of the cases filed in the WTO dispute settlement system from
1995 through 2002 challenged members' trade remedies, with the ratio of
such cases increasing over time. Although a relatively small proportion of
WTO members' trade remedy measures were challenged in the WTO, the
United States faced substantially more challenges than other WTO members.
The WTO generally rejected members' decisions to impose trade remedies in
the 25 trade remedy disputes resolved from 1995 through 2002. However,
GAO found that the WTO ruled for and against the U.S. and other members
in roughly the same ratios. Overall, WTO rulings resulted in few changes to
members' laws, regulations, and practices but had a relatively greater impact
on those of the United States. While U.S. agencies stated that WTO rulings
have not yet significantly impaired their ability to impose trade remedies,
they had concerns about the potential future adverse impact of WTO rulings.
Of the legal experts GAO consulted, a majority concluded that the WTO has
properly applied standards of review and correctly ruled on major trade
remedy issues. However, a significant minority strongly disagreed with
these conclusions. U.S. agencies also said that the WTO has not always
properly applied the standards and has, in some cases, imposed obligations
on members that are not found in WTO agreements. Nonetheless, the
experts almost unanimously agreed that the WTO was not treating the
United States any differently than other members.
Total Number of WTO Trade Remedy Measures Imposed and Number Challenged, by Most
Frequent Trade Remedy Users, 1995-2002
Number of trade remedy measures
0 I I II l i I _ I
_ 1 n 2 3 [1
Total trade remedy measures
notified to the WTO
Source: GAO analysis of WTO data.
United States General Accounting Office
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United States. General Accounting Office. World Trade Organization: Standard of Review and Impact of Trade Remedy Rulings, report, July 30, 2003; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc291095/m1/2/: accessed August 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.