Targeted sanctions are constantly used in foreign affairs since the end of the Cold War. The end of the Cold War shifted the constraints on joint effort for international peace and security that had been set by power competition for more than four decades. This also resulted in the practice of sanctions. These sanctions – focused on some leaders or goods - have been practised by international trade organizations. Today sanctions are put to work in new conditions. Of course, issues of world peace and security figure prominently.
One of the novelties is the World Trade Organization (WTO) and its sanctions apparatus for regulating fair international trade practices. WTO has the rules that prohibit discriminatory trade measures that makes it difficult for other organizations to impose sanctions. This work considers this new instrument of international relations and investigates how the sanctions are practised by world organization in international political affairs, notably WTO. Finally, through a legal analysis, this research paper highlights the effectiveness and targetability of WTO trade sanctions.
The idea that a specialized international organization should have a compliance mechanism that would include the possibility of an economic sanction against a country judged to be in violation of international rules originated in the International Labour Organization (ILO) of 1919 (Treaty of Versailles). The ILO preferred, however, not to use these sanctions. Eight decades later, such idea of a legal compliance system with new many-sided agreed trade sanction has developed in only one world organization, WTO.
In some degree, the WTO compliance system is perceived as a model of enforceability. Envy of the WTO armamentarium resulted in desire of champions to try getting the WTO to use its compliance system in support of non-trade values. The most remarkable characteristic of the WTO legal system is that the member governments have accepted obligatory jurisdiction. The WTO Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes (the “DSU”) says that any member government can make a complaint against any other member government.
First, an appeal to the WTO Appellate Body is made. Then a final decision follows and is tacitly adopted by the WTO Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) were delegates from all member governments are present. The government in default is then given a “reasonable period of time” to come into compliance. Then the complaining government(s) may look for authority to “suspend concessions or other obligations. ” Further we will refer to that authority as s “SCOO” (The WTO's Problematic 'Last Resort).
A SCOO enables the intermission of any concession or any obligation on a prospective basis. The fallowing research is whether the SCOO is viewed as an act of sanctioning or as a protective act of rebalancing trade concessions. Actually, both can be found. The SCOO in the WTO plays a role of the traditional remedy of “Termination or suspension of the operation of a treaty as a consequence of its breach,” as provided in the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties).
This means that the victim country counteracts the breach by suspending some of its obligations to the breaching countries. But considering the SCOO only as defensive overlooks the important evolution of WTO practice that identifies the SCOO as a special act intended to change behavior in the defendant country (Rethinking WTO Trade Sanctions). Because the SCOO has right to induce compliance, the SCOO is being used as any trade sanction could be. Realising this new fact, the WTO Secretariat now freely calls SCOO actions as “sanctions.
” Really, in a recent report, the Secretariat indicates that in WTO there is the possibility that governments “could go unpunished for acting inconsistently with their obligations, at least for the duration of the dispute” (World Trade Report 2003). The fallowing paragraphs consider three questions about WTO trade sanctions. First, do WTO sanctions work effectively? Second, are they well developed for the parties who are causing WTO rules to be violated? Third, will the use of these sanctions by the WTO be transferable to other international organizations?