The WTO Dispute Settlement procedure is on the verge of crisis

From its formation in 1995, the World Trade Organization’s Dispute Settlement Body has served as a main pillar of the multilateral trading system, receiving filings for a total of 583 disputes. WTO members rely on Dispute Settlement proceedings to ensure transparency, clear rules, and a fair system on trade.

The Dispute Settlement Body has an important role in the world’s food and agriculture system. Most cases—more than 60% from 1995 to 2014—concerned animals and animal products, vegetable products, or foodstuffs, even though these sectors represent less than 15% of world trade.1 In the face of changing climate patterns, changing composition of food demand, and other factors, multilateral trade will be more important to food and agriculture than ever.

Photo: WTO