Saving NAFTA Chapter 19

Was it worth it?
October 23, 2018
812.73 KB31 pages

This report evaluates outcomes in the 54 complaints by Canadian exporters against U.S. trade authorities under NAFTA’s Chapter 19 dispute settlement mechanism. It finds that despite playing a prominent role in the end game of NAFTA renegotiations, Canada’s success using the Chapter 19 dispute settlement mechanism has been modest at best. 

The report’s key findings include:  

  • Since 1994, Canadian exporters have succeeded in getting trade relief in 12 complaints under NAFTA Chapter 19. 
  • Only seven of these wins were directly attributable to the Chapter 19 process, and the last of these occurred nearly 15 years ago. 
  • In the five other successful cases, Canadian exporters won interim relief, but the trade disputes were ultimately resolved independently of the Chapter 19 panel process. 
  • More than half (30) of all complaints were terminated before any panel decision was reached. 
  • Delays in the process have increased the panel timelines to well beyond those in the original agreement. 

Chapter 19’s mixed track record suggests that the price paid to protect it – for example, by extending monopoly protections for brand-name medicines, eroding supply management, and failing to escape from unjustified U.S. national security safeguard tariffs on steel and aluminum - was too high.