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It’s often said that the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU) works more in favor of the richer members with their vastly greater resources. On the other hand, one of the principal objectives of the DSU was to create a fairer system, in which every member could bring forward a complaint, have it fully investigated, obtain a ruling on the compatibility of the measure or practice with WTO rules, and – more generally – “to have its day in court”. The guiding principle was intended to be: “Every member is equal before the law”, and this was designed to lead to fairer and more equal opportunities than a system where power politics could, and did, influence the results.
This thoughtful and timely resource will examine the concept of “development” as both a political and legal norm - designed to safeguard the special interests of developing countries in international trade – in the context of GATT and WTO law.