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No. 19: Analysis of International Trade Dispute Settlement Mechanisms and Implications for Canada's Agreement on Internal Trade

by E. Wayne Clendenning and Robert J. Clendenning, E. Wayne Clendenning & Associates Inc., November 1997


Summary

The purpose of this study is to provide an update of recent developments and changes to international and national dispute settlement mechanisms, as well as an analysis of the implications for the dispute settlement mechanism established under the Canadian Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT). The international mechanisms, in particular, have evolved in response to new requirements imposed on them and the experience gained with their operations over the years. The result has been the development of new structures added to the mechanisms, and of new procedures and processes for enhancing their operations and strengthening their credibility in dispute resolution. Substantial differences have emerged in the structure and operation of the various mechanisms; these range from court-based mechanisms, with very legalistic structures and procedures, to more informal panel-based systems. The analysis will include the Australian constitutional approach for ensuring free trade within a federal state similar to Canada. The AIT mechanism has borrowed heavily from a number of other mechanisms and its further evolution will undoubtedly reflect the changes and improvements implemented in them. This study will analyse the changes and their implications for the AIT mechanism; it will also offer recommendations for improvements to the AIT mechanism, based on the changes to and experience with other national and international mechanisms.

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