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WTO Dispute Settlement Mechanism(5)

时间:2006-11-24栏目:国际经济法论文

Chapter V
Guidelines for Interpretation
of the WTO Covered Agreements


OUTLINE

I Introduction
II Application of Arts. 31, 32 of the Vienna Convention
III WTO Rules on Conflicts: Effective Interpretation
IV The Status of Legitimate Expectations in Interpretation



I Introduction
According to Art. 11 of the DSU, the panel's role is to “make an objective assessment of the matter before it, including an objective assessment of the facts of the case and the applicability and conformity with the relevant covered agreements”. In the previous chapter, we have examined the general standard of review labeled as “an objective assessment” regarding “the facts of the case”; clearly, for panels to fulfil appropriately their functions as designated in Art. 11 of the DSU, it is also indiscerptible to make such an objective assessment of “the applicability and conformity with the relevant covered agreements”. Therefore, the interpretation issue of the covered agreements arises. In this section, the author will scrutinize guidelines for interpretation applied under the WTO jurisprudence.
To resolve a particular dispute, before addressing the parties' arguments in detail, it is clearly necessary and appropriate to clarify the general issues concerning the interpretation of the relevant provisions and their application to the parties' claims. However, the complex nature of the covered agreements has given rise to difficulties in interpretation.
As noted previously, GATT/WTO jurisprudence should not be viewed in isolation from general principles developed in international law or most jurisdictions; and according to Art. 3.2 of the DSU, panels are bound by the “customary rules of interpretation of public international law” in their examination of the covered agreements. A number of recent adopted reports have repeatedly referred, as interpretative guidelines, to “customary rules of interpretation of public international law” as embodied in the text of the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (‘Vienna Convention’), especially in its Arts. 31, 32. It is in accordance with these rules of treaty interpretation that panels or the Appellate Body have frequently examined the WTO provisions at issue, on the basis of the ordinary meaning of the terms of those provisions in their context, in the light of the object and purpose of the covered agreements and the WTO Agreement. These Vienna Convention articles provide as follows:

“Art. 31: General Rule of Interpretation
1. A treaty shall be interpreted in good faith in accordance with the ordinary meaning to be given to the terms of the treaty in their context and in the light of its object and purpose.
2. The context for the purpose of the interpretation of a treaty shall comprise, in addition to the text, including its preamble and annexes:
(a) any agreement relating to the treaty which was made between all the partie

s in connexion with the conclusion of the treaty;
(b) any instrument which was made by one or more parties in connexion with the conclusion of the treaty and accepted by the other parties as an instrument related to the treaty.
3. There shall be taken into account together with the context:
(a) any subsequent agreement between the parties regarding the interpretation of the treaty or the application of its provisions;
(b)

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