The data issued by the WTO Secretariat on disputes shows that "developing countries" have participated in one-third of the cases 1995-2005. The data should be corrected to exclude some OECD member countries and some others with high GDP per capita. These adjustments reduce by about 30 the number of cases and, in addition, analysis shows that the vast majority of the developing country cases were launched by just five members. If another eight members are added, you have 90 per cent of developing member dispute activity, which means that around 80-90 members have had no dispute participation at all. This paper discusses reasons for that passive attitude and concludes that there seems to be little in the WTO system per se that needs correcting in this context. It is rather problems of internal governance and organization in many capitals that may be responsible for the relative absence of many members from the WTO dispute scene.
international trade World Trade Organization trade law Dispute Settlement System developing countries