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WTO Dispute Settlement Mechanism(4)

时间:2006-11-24栏目:国际经济法论文

Chapter IV
Function of Panels: Art. 11 of the DSU


OUTLINE


I Introduction
II Application of Art. 11 as a General Standard of Review
III Review in “neither de novo nor total defence”
IV Allegation against Panels’ Standard of Review
V Exercise of Judicial Economy





I Introduction
The function of panels is expressly defined in Art. 11 of the DSU, which reads as follows:

“The function of panels is to assist the DSB in discharging its responsibilities under this Understanding and the covered agreements. Accordingly, a panel should make an objective assessment of the matter before it, including an objective assessment of the facts of the case and the applicability of and conformity with the relevant covered agreements, and make such other findings as will assist the DSB in making the recommendations or in giving the rulings provided for in the covered agreements. Panels should consult regularly with the parties to the dispute and give them adequate opportunity to develop a mutually satisfactory solution.”

This provision suggests that the function of panels is to make an objective assessment such as to assist the DSB in making the recommendations or in giving the rulings provided for in the covered agreements. However, how do panels fulfill their functions as provided in Art. 11 of the DSU? It is the issue that we will touch on in this chapter. In this chapter, the author explores on the standard of review issue under the WTO, i.e. “an objective assessment”; as well as on the exercised judicial economy principle developed in panel’s review.
With regard to the standard of review issue, the GATT/WTO dispute settlement procedures have increasingly confronted questions concerning the degree to which an international body, under the GATT/WTO, should “second guess” a decision of a national government agency concerning economic regulations that are allegedly inconsistent with an international rule. It seems clear that the international agreement doesn’t permit a national government’s determination always to prevail, otherwise the international rules could be easily evaded or rendered ineffective. But should the international body approach the issues involved without any deference to the national government? It has been argued in the GATT/WTO proceedings that panels should respect national government determinations, up to some point. That “point” is the crucial issue that has sometimes been labelled the “standard of review”.1
Of course, this issue is not unique to the GATT/WTO. Naturally, the standard-of-review issue is one that many legal systems face. “The standard-of-review question is faced at least implicitly whenever sovereign members of a treaty yield interpretive and dispute settlement powers to international panels and tribunals. Moreover, as national economies become increasingly interdependent, and as the need for international cooperation a

nd coordination accordingly becomes greater, the standard-of-review question will become increasingly important.” 2 And “it can be seen that the standard-of-review question is a recurring and delicate one, and one that to some extent goes to the core of an international procedure that must (in a rule-based system) assess a national government’s actions against treaty or other international norms”. 3
However, for the immediate purpo

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