Adoption of GATT dispute settlement reports

Unlike under the WTO’s dispute settlement system, GATT dispute settlement reports had to be adopted by positive consensus, which in practice entailed the agreement of the respondent.  Despite this requirement, 96 of the 136 GATT dispute settlement reports issued were adopted by consensus (i.e. approximately 71 per cent) and 40 remained unadopted. The latter figure does not include one report that was submitted to the parties, but the proceedings were subsequently suspended without the report being issued.

There were various reasons for a report to remain unadopted, and these reasons were not limited to a situation where the respondent blocked its adoption (28 disputes). There were nine disputes in which the report was not considered for adoption, two in which the Council “took note” of the report without adopting it, and one in which there are two possible interpretations as to whether it was adopted as the parties disagreed on the status of the report.