GATT Dispute Settlements: A New Beginning in International and U.S. Trade Law

deKieffer, Donald E. | January 1, 1980

Although the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)’ has been in existence for over two decades, a workable system has only recently developed for resolving disputes between contracting parties. Since its inception, the GATT has been designed to promote the grad- ual dissolution of trade barriers between the major mercantile countries of the world.2 In its early years, the GATT approached this ambitious goal solely through irregular negotiating “rounds” at which the Con- tracting Parties (the nations signatory to the GATT) mutually agreed to reduce their tariff barriers. There was little attempt to develop an effec- tive enforcement mechanism to monitor the respective obligations un- dertaken by the contracting parties.