Distinguished Lectures

Crimes and Punishment: An Analysis of Relation Under the WTO

Publication Number: ECES-DLS20-E

November, 2003

Author : Robert Lawrence

Type : Distinguished Lectures

Resolving trade related conflicts is complex because it involves sovereign nations with unequal power. Nevertheless, it is critical that such conflicts are resolved fairly and efficiently. Failure to do so is not only costly to the parties of the conflict, but also to the global trading system itself. In this DLS, Bob Lawrence makes an important contribution to that discussion by examining retaliation under the WTO. Lawrence evaluates the merits and shortcomings of retaliation, arguing that the current system encourages protection by allowing countries to erect barriers to trade. He further argues that the system may be unfair to smaller countries because they frequently find retaliatory actions against their interest. He advocates, instead, a system of Contingent Liberalization Commitments (CLC), which allow countries to select a liberalization commitment of their choice a priori. This proposal has several merits, the most important of which is that it is pro openness.