General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and Rwanda

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The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) 1947 functioned as a means of adjusting trade relationships between countries trying to improve their economies. Contracting parties to this agreement have been bound by it to treat other contracting parties on an equal and reciprocal basis as well as to curb protectionism. At the start of 1995, the GATT has been succeeded by the World Trade Organization (WTO) and has since been the most important development in international trade. However, it is still essential to note that the GATT as amended is still the central piece of the WTO law . A Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) has been set up under Article IV of WTO Agreement and the Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes (DSU). This body is responsible for disputes arising from the WTO Agreement, GATT 1994, GATS, TRIPs, DSU and Plurilateral Trade Agreements. The mechanisms for settling disputes that arise are done through consultation, mediation or conciliation, arbitration and panel proceedings. Consultation is compulsory is the first stage of the dispute settlement mechanism. If consultation fails, a panel can then be appointed for the second stage which is the panel proceedings .
The case in question here involves a dispute between two WTO members which are Australia and Rwanda. Rwanda states that the actions taken by Australia through the Gorilla and Forest Preservation Act 2005 (Cth) to prevent the entry of coffee and timber exported by Rwanda contravenes the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). The issue that arises here is on whether the Gorilla and Forest Preservation Act 2005 (Cth) passed by the Australian Government is actually in breach of the GATT. Both countries can attempt to solve this dispute through consultation by information the DSB for their progress to be monitored. If the consultation fails, the complaining party, in this case Rwanda can then ask for a panel to be appointed. Australia can block the

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