The World Trade Organization (WTO) is often held to be an exemplar of a legitimate, effectively functioning institution of international law. By one count, the international agreements, concessions, and other rules that comprise the legal code of the WTO's "covered agreements" total more than 27,000 pages. Disputes that arises from these treaties must be resolved by the WTO. As a testament of confidence in the WTO 's judicial arm, countries have filed nearly 500 complaints with the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) since 1995. WTO rulings are largely followed, and on the few occasions when compliance is not forthcoming, even the most powerful nations agree to pay compensation or accept suspension of trade concessions. As one scholar has noted, "Presently, the WTO provides the ideal global organizational vehicle with the institutional capability to induce countries to participate" in an international treaty regime.
Rethinking the Temporary Breach Puzzle: A Window on the Future of International Trade Conflicts,
Yale J. Int'l L.
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