Trade disputes between WTO members can be resolved through negotiations. But when the adversaries can’t agree, they can request a WTO panel to settle the disagreement and they can appeal the panel’s report. But if a member doesn’t follow the report’s recommendations, that country could be subject to duties or other trade sanctions.
The European Union is among WTO members actively using that system, when it can’t resolve a dispute by other means. In all its trade agreements since 2000, the EU has included a settlement dispute mechanism modelled after the WTO.
Since November 2014, the EU has won 9 WTO cases that have removed discriminatory taxes, illegal customs duties as well as other measures in key markets such as Russia, China, the US, and South America – estimated EU exports affected at least 10 € billion/year.