State-to-state Dispute Settlement Under the USMCA: A Missed Opportunity?
Festchrift in Honour of Professor Stephen T. Zamora (Houston: Arte Publico, submitted, 2019, Forthcoming).
19 Pages Posted: 27 Feb 2019
Date Written: December 18, 2018
The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) signed on November 30, 2018 will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) the treaty that has governed continental trade since January 1, 1994. The new agreement contains a few significant alterations to NAFTA provisions but the rules for state-to-state dispute settlement in NAFTA Chapter 20 were brought forward in Chapter 31 of the USMCA largely unchanged. This paper describes the state-to-state dispute settlement system under the USMCA, highlighting both its similarities to and differences from NAFTA Chapter 20, and identifying the persisting problems. The few changes that have been made in the USMCA, if they have any effect at all, seem likely to reduce the utility state-to-state dispute settlement compared to NAFTA Chapter 20, a process that Canada, the United States, and Mexico have already abandoned in practice.
Keywords: United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, USMCA, North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA
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