Free Trade Area of the Americas - FTAA


Trade Negotiations

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September 12, 2003

Original: English


Twenty-third Meeting

Puebla, August 18 - 22, 2003


1. The twenty-third meeting of the Negotiating Group on Dispute Settlement (NGDS) was held in Puebla, Mexico from August 18 to 22, 2003. Ms. Meg Kinnear chaired the meeting. Mr. Federico Gajardo served as Vice-Chair. In attendance were representatives of the following seventeen (17) countries of the hemisphere: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago, the United States, and Uruguay.

2. The agenda adopted for the meeting is attached as an annex. All the items on the agenda were considered.

3. The NGDS took note that at its meeting in San Salvador on July 8-11, 2003, the Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC) decided to provide the Group’s recommendations and report on incorporation by reference to negotiating groups for drafting guidance (see FTAA.TNC/23, para. 6, which is posted at

4. The Group focused its attention on the draft chapter on dispute settlement with a view to achieving consensus on the greatest possible number of issues still pending. The NGDS also reviewed new proposals submitted relating to transparency of the dispute settlement system under the FTAA.

5. The Group noted that no contributions from civil society had been received by the NGDS since its last meeting, in response to the open invitation to civil society.

6. Information provided by twenty (20) countries on their respective national laws, and/or institutions providing services, in relation to arbitration and/or other alternative dispute resolution, as well as a revised note providing the current status of signatories and ratifying states of relevant international conventions are posted on the FTAA web page on private commercial arbitration at

7. The date of the next (twenty-fourth) meeting of the NGDS is scheduled for September 22-24, 2003 in Puebla. At that time, the Group will finalize its report to the Trade Negotiations Committee on the Group’s activities since the Quito Ministerial meeting, attaching the latest version of the draft dispute settlement chapter.



Twenty-third Meeting

Puebla, August 18 - 22, 2003


1. Approval of agenda

2. Report by the NGDS Chair on the meeting of the Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC) in San Salvador, El Salvador, July 8-11, 2003

3. Discussion of the mandate to NGDS from the TNC regarding transparency and incorporation by reference (FTAA.TNC/23, para 6)

4. Discussion of the draft chapter on dispute settlement in template format (FTAA.TNC/23)

5. Presentation of proposals

6. Consideration of the draft chapter on dispute settlement with a view to achieving consensus on the greatest possible number of issues still pending and in particular in relation to:
Article 8

Neutral Panels:
Article 10. Establishment of a Neutral Panel
Article 11. Roster of Panelists
Article 12. Composition of the Neutral Panel
Article 13. Challenge and Removal
Article 14. Jurisdiction of the Neutral Panel
Article 15. Terms of Reference of the Neutral Panel

Appellate Body:
Article 27. Appellate Body
Article 28. Constitution of the Appellate Body
Article 29. Appeal Procedure
Article 30. Procedures for Appellate Review
Article 31. Decisions of the Appellate Body

Article 32. Recourse to Clarification
Article 33. Nature of the Final Report
Article 34. Implementation of the Final Report
Article 35. Failure To Compensate
Article 36. Suspension of Benefits or Other Obligations
Article 37. Monetary Assessments
Article 38. Compliance Review
Article 39. Five-Year Review

Article 23. Public Participation
Article 41. [Confidentiality] [Transparency]

Article 17. [Model] Rules of Procedure
Annex 1. Rules of Procedure to Article 17 ([Model] Rules of Procedure)
Annex 2. Code of Conduct

Third Parties:
Article 19

Nullification or Impairment:
Article 16. Non-Violation Nullification or Impairment

7. Relationship with other FTAA entities
* TCI (possible further submission by NGDS on institutions that will need to be established to adequately implement the dispute settlement mechanisms established in the FTAA)
* Consultative Group on Smaller Economies
* Other
8. Contributions from Civil Society

9. Discussion on how to design mechanisms to facilitate and promote the use of arbitration and other alternative dispute resolution methods to settle private disputes

10. Preparation of the draft (Fourth) Report of the NGDS to the TNC, including identification of areas in which guidance from the TNC and/or Ministers is needed to improve the work of the Group in the future.

11. Other
- Consideration of “Costs of the WTO Dispute Settlement System”
- Preparation of NGDS work after the Miami Ministerial

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