Foot Dragging or Strategic Withdrawal? The Cotton Dispute and Executive Compliance / by Mark Langevin

New paper from Mark Langevin in the Journal of World Trade

US – Upland Cotton (DS267), known as the cotton dispute, revealed the limits of the World Trade Organization’s Dispute Settlement Understanding and pitted US agricultural and trade policies against Brazil’s comparative advantages in cotton cultivation. More than any other case, this trade dispute exposed the underlying challenges to advancing the Doha Development Agenda. This article explores US compliance with the Dispute Settlement Body’s successive rulings from 2005 to 2009 by examining executive compliance efforts in the face of congressional foot dragging, and how such efforts shaped the evolution of this trade conflict and framed its resolution in October of 2014. The examination confirms the pivotal role that congress played in preventing full compliance, but also reveals the importance of executive administrative discretion, legislative advocacy, and trade policy orientation in determining the outcome of the cotton dispute and its eventual impact upon US global trade liberalization leadership, including the US government’s strategic withdrawal from the Doha round.

Read the entire paper here.