Of Substantial Interest: Third Parties Under GATT

This article’s examination of the status of third parties under GATT is important for several reasons, one of which is the proliferation of third party participation as demonstrated by Bananas III. A second reason for its importance is that there has been little written about third parties under GATT. This neglect stands in sharp contrast to ample literature on the related subject of greater public participation in the WTO. The oversight could be a function of GATT dispute resolution, which did not always enjoy the level of public attention it garners today. Until recently the GATT system handled no more than about a dozen disputes a year.” Many countries were often content to ignore GATT dispute resolution, either because the system itself was poorly understood or because GATT was perceived as irrelevant to national development. That attitude has now changed. The WTO faces increased litigation as countries request panels and seek to intervene in large numbers, and a review of third party practice is therefore appropriate to better understand this form of participation.