The Implications of ‘The Dispute Settlement Understanding’ Provisions on Special and Differential Treatment: A Giant Leap or Speedbreak for Developing Countries?

  • Ngemuah Nongde
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  • Ngemuah Nongde

    Assistant Lecturer at the University of Yaounde II, Cameroon.

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Economic development has always been an important part of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade/ The World Trade Organization (GATT/WTO) system as one of the main goals to be achieved through international trade. Non-reciprocal trade preferences and provisions in the GATT/WTO that allow developing countries greater leeway to retain or use protectionist policies are two of the central pillars of the most hailed special and differential treatment (SDT) for Developing Countries in the multilateral trading system. These provisions are praised, for the most part, to be fully beneficial to developing countries but when in-depth analysis is made, the reverse seems true. This article examines the S&D treatment provided for developing countries under the Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU). It provides a critical analysis of the role S&D treatment provisions have played in dealing with developing countries’ issues in the dispute settlement system and the limitations that affect their application. Issues related to the provisions’ language or choice of words, their application in WTO disputes, which addresses the issues of panels and the Appellate Body’s interpretations of such provisions and the attitude of developed countries counterparts towards them are confusing and worrisome, thus call for urgent redress.




International Journal of Law Management and Humanities, Volume 4, Issue 3, Page 1623 - 1640


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