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The role that the World Trade Organization (WTO) plays in the settlement of United States-Japan trade disputes is, but should not be, U.S. and Japan-specific. The WTO is a multilateral forum and this aspect of its character must be maintained for the WTO to acquire credibility in the settlement of trade disputes. Trade disputes, if at all, should be exceptional not because of the parties involved, but because of their subject matter. Nothing indicates that the U.S.-Japan trade disputes are subject matter-specific. In fact, the opposite is true: there is ample evidence demonstrating that disputes over the same issues among different actors are a recurrent theme. For example, see the Tuna-Dolphin cases and the recent Shrimps-Turtle case; also see Japan-Alcoholic Beverages and the Korea-Alcoholic Beverages cases; moreover, check the series of antidumping cases submitted to the GATT/WTO regime.

Consequently, my comments on this point should be viewed in the context described above. In other words, my comments reflect that the WTO is a forum to address disputes in a consistent manner independent of the identity of the parties to the dispute.


Dispute Resolution and Arbitration | International Law | Law