Research Paper: Effects of World Trade Organizations Dispute Settlement System on International Law

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WTO and International Law Qs

The World Trade Organization impacts international law in both direct and indirect manners, and strangely it provides strength to international law even in ways that might on the surface appear to weaken it. First, and most directly, the WTO is far more centralized than most other bodies and systems of international law, which adds a great deal of strength to the legal workings of the international community within the WTO (Pauwelyn, 2001). The rules and hierarchies established by the WTO provide clear guidance with direct and transparent means for appeal and redressing grievances, making the organization a far more effective, decisive, and objective body for international arbitration and rule-setting than other international and/or intergovernmental organizations (Pauwelyn, 2001; Pauwelyn, 2003). This has ked to a direct strengthening of international law, as all areas governed by the WTO (though this governance is not sovereign or exclusive) have a centralized authority they can appeal to which wields direct, even, and transparent power in settling disputes and setting rules (Pauwelyn, 2001; Pauwelyn, 2003).

At the same time, the strength of the WTO -- which is, ultimately, a non-governmental body -- could be seen as delegitimizing both international and national governments. An inspection of the WTO's own governing rules belies this notion, however; the construction and wording of the various articles shows the clear deference to international law embedded in the very fabric of the WTO (Pauwelyn, 2003). In this manner, the WTO adds legitimacy to existing governments and intergovernmental partnerships and unions, further strengthening international law by lending its support to bodies of international law and the various organizations that determine and enforce international agreements conduct between nations.


It goes without saying that relationships between states will improve when there is a clear, established, authoritative, and effective body in place to handle disputes, set rules, and otherwise manage interstate relationships, and this is precisely what the WTO provides (Petersmann, 1997; Pauwelyn, 2001; Pauwelyn, 2003). The specific manner in which the WTO goes about influencing and assisting interstate relationships is another substantial strength of the organization, however, and the detailed dispute resolution process the WTO enforces covers all manner of violation-based disputes as well as non-violation-based complaints between states (Petersmann, 1997). Having a dedicated, specific, and detailed means of addressing and resolving conflicts greatly improves relationships between states not only through the concrete instances of dispute resolution but also by more effectively compartmentalizing issues of dispute (Petersmann, 1997). By providing an effective means for resolving trade-related disputes and conflicts, that is, the WTO helps to keep such issues from… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Cite This Research Paper:

APA Format

Effects of World Trade Organizations Dispute Settlement System on International Law.  (2013, April 24).  Retrieved July 19, 2019, from

MLA Format

"Effects of World Trade Organizations Dispute Settlement System on International Law."  24 April 2013.  Web.  19 July 2019. <>.

Chicago Format

"Effects of World Trade Organizations Dispute Settlement System on International Law."  April 24, 2013.  Accessed July 19, 2019.