Advisory Services for Sovereign States and Public Authorities 

Helping you to reach your goal.

Violations of WTO law may not only lead to political problems, but also to long, drawn-out and expensive dispute settlement proceedings. However, WTO provisions should not prevent the Members from pursuing legitimate economic policy. By skilfully exploiting the options provided for in the WTO agreements the Member can formulate national policy or conclude trade agreements, which achieves the Member's objectives and is still consistent with the relevant provisions of WTO law. WTO law also permits the Members to formulate and enact non-trade policies to address important issues, for example, environmental concerns. Regrettably, these options are often overlooked or are drafted or administered in a manner so as to render the regulatory regime inconsistent with the applicable provisions of WTO law.

The WTO foresees special rules for developing countries, in particular Least-Developed Countries, and allows developing countries flexibility in respect of certain rules and disciplines governing trade measures. Unfortunately, these opportunities are not sufficiently exploited by the Members affected. The outcome is economically and socio-politically not as optimal as could be if the possibilities provided for under the WTO were more extensively exercised.

The two most common claims under WTO law are "as such" claims and "as applied" claims. The former refers to claims that the legislation is on its face inconsistent with the applicable provisions of WTO law. The latter claim is raised when the administration of the law or regulation results in a putative violation of WTO provisions. The Members must therefore ensure that they comply with the applicable WTO provisions both when applying and administering national legislation.

The scope of our services includes:

  • Identification of potential violations by trade partners
  • Identification of escape, safeguard and exemption clauses
  • Support and advice on drafting legislation and trade agreements
  • Advice on compliance when applying national law
  • Advice in disputes between Members, and
  • Advice and support in actions before the WTO dispute settlement bodies.

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