WTO Practice

For more than 60 years (since 1947), the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), and its successor, the World Trade Organization (WTO), has regulated how countries trade with each other.  Today, the United States and 163 other countries are Members of the WTO with more actively involved in accession negotiations.

Nearly every company, worker, and community around the globe is affected by WTO agreements on trade in goods, trade in services, trade-related investment measures, intellectual property, and technical standards.

When the U.S. or another Member complains that a country is not complying with these agreements, a decision by the WTO dispute settlement mechanism can profoundly affect domestic laws and policies.

Also, negotiations within the WTO to expand and revise agreements can affect producers in many industries (agriculture; manufacturing; services) by offering important opportunities as well as presenting risks.

Stewart and Stewart understands how the WTO works.  We can advise clients on how existing agreements, disputes, and negotiations may affect them.

Stewart and Stewart has written extensively on WTO-related topics and, since 2001, has edited and updated the Handbook of WTO/GATT Dispute Settlement.

With its WTO experience and expertise, Stewart and Stewart can give strategic advice to help clients better understand, and increase their ability to compete in, the global trading system.

In particular, Stewart and Stewart can:

  • monitor WTO disputes and identify those with the potential to affect client interests;
  • provide input in WTO disputes (to the extent permitted by domestic law and practice);
  • counsel clients on challenges to measures adopted by other WTO Members;
  • advise on the WTO-consistency of proposed and existing laws, regulations, practices, and measures;
  • closely track negotiations and advise how clients might influence them;
  • analyze how negotiations might affect clients’ operations and devise strategies to best take advantage of ongoing negotiations;
  • assist the drafting of U.S. implementing legislation that reflects clients’ needs and is WTO-consistent;
  • aid governments with WTO accession; and
  • evaluate how accession negotiations might affect clients.

Stewart and Stewart’s WTO team aims to monitor and shape major developments and long-term trends within the WTO so as to benefit our clients and lead to good public policy outcomes.

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