Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

First Page



This Note examines the effectiveness of the World Trade Organization at remedying disputes involving trade subsidies. The WTO as created in the Uruguay Round was the first multilateral trade institution that included prohibitions against trade subsidies of a more-than-aspirational nature that were agreed to by most states in the world community. The WTO was thus envisioned as ushering in an era where subsidies had significantly less detrimental effects on the international economic community.

This Note seeks to evaluate the effectiveness of the WTO's subsidy provisions through analyses of decisions in early WTO jurisprudence. These decisions will be evaluated, in part, through recourse to economic and public choice theories. Ideally, remedies to government-granted subsidies should attempt to cure the sort of underlying rent-seeking behavior that causes subsidies without fostering the coalescence of anti-WTO constituencies that over the long term could meaningfully undermine principles of free trade. Following this discussion, several proposals for WTO reform will be evaluated in the light of this Note's underlying analysis.