18 de Julio de 2018
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Colección: Trends for a common future
Autor: Sidney Weintraub
Título: Technical Cooperation Needs for Hemispheric trade Negotiations

9. Dispute Settlement

Disputes between trading partners will always arise, whether the countries are joined together in a trade integration arrangement or not. This is evident from the disputes that erupt between member countries of the subregional trading groups in the hemisphere. The existence of these groups, however, does provide an organized way to settle conflicts and this is surely better than anarchy or settlement by the exercise of superior power by the stronger country. One purpose of an agreed dispute-settlement procedure is to minimize the practice of the powerful imposing a solution.

The Negotiating Group on Dispute Settlement (NGDS) has a relatively clearcut objective, but it must confront complex issues in achieving these. The negotiating group must have considerable information on how other dispute-settlement mechanisms are working. Foremost among these is that in the WTO, which was strengthened in the Uruguay Round. Because all FTAA participants are members of the WTO, the FTAA mechanism that is devised should be seen as an adjunct to that in the WTO. Information on how the WTO has worked to settle disputes—the number and kinds of cases, who brought them, how they were or were not resolved—should be available to the NGDS. In addition, the negotiating group should have available to it the nature and functioning the dispute-settlement mechanisms in the subregional integration agreements in the hemisphere because these can provide models of the thinking of hemispheric countries.

TC for dispute settlement is available from many sources. I will cite here only that in the WTO stemming from the memorandum of understanding on rules and procedures governing the settlement of disputes (DSU), which provides for short programs on the WTO’s dispute settlement procedures. The WTO is also committed to sending a legal expert, on request, to any developing country member which seeks help to settle a trade dispute.

Disputes will occur in the FTAA on issues other than trade per se. Investment disputes will arise and the negotiating group on this subject is examining that. NAFTA has specific provisions dealing with investment disputes and FTAA participants should be informed about how these work. Many conflicts arise from agricultural policies (especially subsidies), sanitary and phytosanitary standards, other standards and technical measures, environmental matters—indeed, across the board—and some of these disputes may need resolution techniques different from straightforward import restrictions. The training of hemispheric officials should lay out how the various kinds of disputes may require their own resolution procedures.