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Kathryn E. Spier & David E. Weinstein, Retaliatory Mechanisms for Eliminating Trade Barriers: Aggressive Unilateralism vs. GATT Cooperation, in Imperfect Competition in International Trade 231 (Winston W. Chang & Seiichi Katayama eds., 1995).

Abstract: The lack of effective mechanisms for the enforcement of international treaty obligations has become a major obstacle to the success of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). While multilateral trade negotiations have reduced tariff levels to historic lows, nontariff barriers (NTBs) have emerged as one of the major impediments to trade flows. Since NTBs often vary in form across countries and products, adjudicating an alleged violation of a GATT obligation is often a long and difficult process. The GATT’s virtual inability to enforce sanctions against those countries that violate GATT obligations has resulted in laws, such as section 301 of the Omnibus Trade Act of 1988, that permit unilateral retaliation as a means of resolving these disputes.