Since May 2012, the WTO, ACWL and ICTSD have been jointly implementing a “tripartite” programme designed to strengthen the legal capacity of developing countries in WTO dispute settlement, including their ability to efficiently manage their WTO trade disputes. The programme, which is financed with a grant by Finland, is anchored in the regular training activities of the WTO, and seeks to tap into the wide and, sometimes, intensive experience of developing countries with the WTO dispute settlement mechanism.
Over the past two decades, a number of developing countries, including Latin American countries, have developed a strong domestic legal capacity in WTO dispute settlement. These countries include Argentina, Brazil and Mexico, which actively use the system in their own right. Smaller developing countries, such as Guatemala and Thailand, are also frequent users of the WTO dispute settlement system – be it as complainant or third party. They have managed to overcome many of the barriers to handling disputes and are thus able to share their experiences with other developing nations, identify best practices and provide guidance on capacity building efforts.
ICTSD has already organized successful dialogues in Geneva (May 2012) and Delhi (November 2012) where developing countries have had the opportunity to share their experiences in handling WTO disputes. This time we are expanding this initiative to the Latin American region and, with the support of the Inter American Development Bank (IADB) and the cooperation of the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a regional dialogue on managing trade disputes is scheduled to take place from 10 to 11 October 2013. As in previous occasions, this dialogue will follow a WTO-ACWL training activity that will take place during the previous two days, also in Brasilia.