Aug. 18, 2017
The talks to renegotiate the terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) opened on August 16, 2017, and one of the first issues on the table was the dispute resolution mechanism that’s been in place for the past 23 years. An article by Paul Vieira, William Mauldin and Anthony Harrup in The Wall Street Journal explores the history of the existing independent resolution mechanism – also known as Chapter 19 – and examines the interests of each of the parties – the United States, Canada and Mexico – in keeping or discarding the mechanism. According to the authors, both Canada and Mexico will insist on retaining the process available under Chapter 19 as it gives them an avenue for fighting U.S. trade sanctions, while the U.S. will continue to insist on it being dismantled, further to President Donald Trump’s “America First” trade policy.
In recent years, the number of Chapter 19 cases has dropped off considerably – evidence, say trade watchers, of how NAFTA has “ushered in greater integration across the North American economy.” This sentiment is echoed by Osler partner and competition and foreign investment law expert, Peter Glossop.
“There’s no us versus them any more,” Peter explains in the article.
If you subscribe to the Wall Street Journal online, you can read the full article “NAFTA talks open with spat over how to resolve tariff conflicts” by Paul Vieira, William Mauldin and Anthony Harrup in the August 16, 2017 edition.