The NAFTA’s institutions and dispute resolution mechanisms: a case for public participation
University of British Columbia
Master of Laws - LLM
The objective of this thesis is to determine whether those who negotiated the NAFTA created institutions and dispute resolution mechanisms capable of allowing the NAFTA to achieve its policy goals. Accordingly, this thesis first examines the intellectual and historical roots of free trade in North America in an effort to determine what the goals of policymakers were when they negotiated the NAFTA. The thesis then analyzes the institutional and dispute resolution provisions of the NAFTA through a set of criteria to assess whether these provisions are capable of furthering those goals. This analysis leads the author to conclude that the Parties have created a system incompatible with the freemarket goals of the free trade policy. The present regime virtually shuts private parties out of the decision-making process leaving both the creation of rules and the protection of their integrity within the hands of the governments of the three Parties. Without effective avenues for participation, the market will not respond in the manner necessary to allow North Americans to reap the benefits predicted by the theory of comparative advantage. The thesis therefore makes a series of proposals aimed at increasing the access of private parties to the NAFTA's institutions and dispute resolution mechanisms. The goal of such recommendations is to create a legal order capable of enabling the NAFTA to deliver the economic advantages policymakers promised to North Americans when they initiated free trade negotiations.
Law, Peter A. Allard School of