07/2023 SIEL Conversation


The aim of SIEL Conversations is to bring together authors and commentators to give talks that are idea-focused so as to foster learning and inspiration, and provoke conversations that matter. Each SIEL Conversation will last approximately one hour and will include commentary from the speakers, with questions from the public.


Title: RTA Dispute Settlement – Wave of the Future?


In the 20 years before December 2019, almost all trade dispute settlement took place at the WTO. Governments negotiated ambitious regional trade agreements but seldom used RTA dispute settlement procedures.

As of mid-2023, the situation has turned around. In its first three years, USMCA has become by far the most active among RTAs, with disputes among all three parties, panel reports, factual records by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, and recourse by the US and Canada to the “rapid response mechanism” on labour rights. In December 2019, the European Commission launched a new enforcement initiative, including a new focus on dispute settlement in the EU’s existing and new trade agreements. Even before this, the EU initiated four bilateral disputes, with three panel reports. And the first CPTPP dispute, brought by New Zealand against Canada, is now under way.

In this SIEL Conversation, participants will examine this new wave of formal RTA enforcement, analyzing RTA dispute settlement’s pros and cons, procedural issues and accessibility for developing countries. They will consider whether RTA dispute settlement is here to stay and discuss the role it plays among the range of means for securing compliance with RTA trade and non-trade commitments.




  • Amy Porges is founder and partner at Porges Trade Law PLLC.  She has decades of experience in international trade law and has been the Senior Counsel for Dispute Settlement and head of enforcement at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) in Washington, DC, managing USTR’s WTO and NAFTA litigation docket, and strategy and procedural issues in WTO and NAFTA disputes — participating in over 100 cases during the WTO’s first five years.
  • Fernando Piérola is an international lawyer and arbitrator of Peruvian and Swiss nationality. With more than two decades of experience in international law, Fernando has acted as counsel in some of the most high-profile WTO disputes. He has also been appointed as arbitrator in several investor-state and free trade agreement (FTA) disputes.
  • Annelies Brock Winborne is Deputy Assistant US Trade Representative for Monitoring & Enforcement. She has engaged in litigation and negotiation under the NAFTA and USMCA. Prior to joining the USTR, she was a Legal Officer at the World Trade Organization.
  • Thomas Liefländer is Deputy Head of Unit at the Directorate General for Trade of the European Commission. Currently at the Legal Affairs/Dispute Settlement (Trade and Sustainable Development and Investment) Unit, he has a decade of experience in addressing European and International Law matters at the European Commission.
  • Orlando Pérez is an internationally recognized legal expert with more than 20 years of experience in international trade and investment issues, and disputes, currently partnering with TMI Abogados in Mexico. He has counsel for high level trade disputes and investment arbitrations and was counsel and lead negotiator for the Intellectual Property Chapter of the USMCA and the modernization of the Free Trade Agreement between Mexico and the European Union.




  • Geraldo Vidigal is Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Amsterdam, where he coordinates the LL.M. in International Trade and Investment Law, and the Managing Editor of Legal Issues of Economic Integration (Kluwer). Prior to joining the University of Amsterdam, he worked as a Dispute Settlement Lawyer at the World Trade Organization (Legal Affairs Division).


Date: The event is scheduled for Thursday 6 July 2023 at the following times and more information can be found below:

10 am Mexico City time
12 pm Washington D.C. time
6 pm Brussels time.
9:30 pm Mumbai time.

Register for the event at: https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_FENU8oFtSIqY-MD0ChPOhA

You can download the below poster, including the event’s description and speakers affiliation here.