USMCA’s Dispute Panelists Selected
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USMCA’s Dispute Panelists Selected

Photo by:   Unsplash, John McArthur
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Alfonso Núñez By Alfonso Núñez | Journalist & Industry Analyst - Tue, 03/29/2022 - 14:35

The dispute between USMCA members regarding rules of origin interpretation continues to advance as the panel in charge of reaching a decision on their correct interpretation has been agreed to, with each country making its official selection.


“We are pleased to confirm that the parties have completed the process of composing the panel for the mentioned matter. The panel was composed on March 22, 2022,” said an official USMCA statement.


The group is led by Panel President Elbio Rosselli, Uruguay UN Representative. Additional panelists include: Kathleen Claussen, Professor, University of Miami School of Law, and expert in international litigation selected by Canada; Ann Ryan Robertson, Partner, Locke Lord International, who was appointed by the US and selected by Mexico; Jorge Miranda, International Commerce Assessor, Cassidy Levy Kent, selected by the US; and Donald McRae, Business and Commercial Law Professor, University of Ottawa.


The inclusion of Jorge Miranda, the only panelist of Mexican origin, was criticized because he is not an international attorney. However, Miranda explained that a law degree is not a requisite for panel inclusion and he is more than qualified due to his ample experience and knowledge in international commerce. Miranda had previously participated in two NAFTA panels.


Once each party presents their case, panelists will have 150 days (120 if it is an urgent matter) to submit a preliminary report of their decision. Now, the Mexican Automotive Industry Association (AMIA) is awaiting approval to participate and provide information as a third-party “amicus curiae.”


“We must remember that the panel is a scheme between the Mexican, US and Canadian governments and not between industries… We will provide the information that is required. Hopefully it will be clarified that Mexico and Canada are right in their interpretation,” said José Zozaya, Executive President, AMIA.


The dispute’s outcome will determine the correct interpretation of auto-part rules of origin, clarifying which exports can benefit from additional tax breaks in the US. A major concern for Mexico and Canada are US President Joe Biden’s proposed tax breaks for the domestic purchase of US union-made EVs. Canada and Mexico have strongly opposed the tax breaks as they believe they contradict USMCA agreements. Biden’s Build Back Better act is facing several hurdles to pass a divided US Senate, so the proposed tax breaks might be removed from the act’s future editions.

Photo by:   Unsplash, John McArthur

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