Decisionmaking and Dispute Resolution in the Free Trade Area of the Americas: An Essay in Trade Governance

This Article examines certain theoretical and structural issues to be resolved in creation of the FTAA’s governing institutions, and proposes an outline for these institutions, drawing upon regime theory’s analysis of international organizations, the range of existing trade institutions found among the hemisphere’s RTAs, and indications of the Summit countries’ present goals and interests. The Article begins by summarizing Kenneth Abbott and Duncan Snidal’s concept of “mesoinstitutions,” a new regime theory tool for identifying the roles played and benefits conferred by 1Os in international relations. Parts I.B and I.C then apply mesoinstitutions theory to the primary governance mechanisms of the hemisphere’s chief existing RTAs. Part II then relies on the analysis of mesoinstitutions theory in Parts LB and I.C to propose an institutional framework for decisionmaking and dispute resolution in the FTAA.