This book examines why democratic institutions for accountability encourage use of adjudication to resolve trade disputes. It argues that governments file a formal legal complaint for World Trade Organization (WTO) adjudication as a costly signal to domestic and foreign audiences of the government's support for exporter interests that have been harmed by foreign protectionism. On the defendant side too, allowing oneself to be dragged into court signals support for importer interests that benefit from the trade barrier. The book develops a theory about domestic constraints to explain why democratic states are more likely to file legal complaints against trade barriers and select their cases based on the political influence of the affected industry. It explores the conditions under which states choose legal venues for dispute settlement, and how the legal context changes the outcome. This introductory chapter provides an overview of international trade law enforcement.
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