Dispute settlement rules and procedures are an important component of so-called mega-regional trade agreements. Reacting to recurrent criticism of the legitimacy of dispute settlement in international economic law, their characteristics and innovative features are driven by two partly competing and overlapping concerns. First, to decrease the autonomy of dispute settlement mechanisms and their potential to develop into independent institutions of international public authority. Second, to minimise friction with existing multilateral governance mechanisms, particularly under the World Trade Organization (WTO). Given the economic and political weight of the parties involved, the means used in the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement and the (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for) Trans-Pacific Partnership to address these concerns are likely to influence the development of dispute settlement provisions in future regional trade agreements, as well as negotiations to reform WTO dispute settlement.
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