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World Trade Report 2005

Exploring the Links Between Trade, Standards and the WTO

image of World Trade Report 2005

The report focuses on specific trade policy issues of current interest and reviews trends in international trade. The core topic addressed in the 2005 Report is the relationship between standards and trade. The Report also contains 3 shorter essays on the use of quantitative economic analysis in WTO dispute settlement proceedings, trade in air transport services, and offshoring services.

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Quantitative economics in WTO dispute settlement

WTO dispute settlement continues to be the subject of extensive scrutiny by both trade practitioners and academics. Not surprisingly, most of this analysis is legal in nature, touching upon the various arguments that have been put forward by parties to disputes and the legal foundations upon which these disputes are adjudicated. While legal and procedural issues remain the domain of trade lawyers, economists are being called upon with increased frequency on matters that call for economic interpretation or quantification. This should hardly be surprising given that multilateral trade rules reflect key economic principles such as comparative advantage, and that many of the terms in WTO Agreements, which are important in the resolution of disputes, have an economic basis. It may also have to do with the fact that increasing numbers of disputes are reaching the implementation phase, in which arbitrators need to quantify the allowable level of retaliation, as will be further explained below.

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