Article 2002 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) establishes the NAFTA Secretariat comprising of the Canadian Section, the Mexican Section and the United States Section. The mandate of the NAFTA Secretariat is set out in Article 2002.3 of the NAFTA and reads:
The Secretariat shall:
- provide assistance to the Commission;
- provide administrative assistance to:
- panels and committees established under Chapter Nineteen (Review and Dispute Settlement in Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Matters), in accordance with the procedures established pursuant to Article 1908, and
- panels established under this Chapter, in accordance with procedures established pursuant to Article 2012; and
- as the Commission may direct:
- support the work of other committees and groups established under this Agreement, and
- otherwise facilitate the operation of this Agreement.
Additionally, the Canadian Section serves as a Secretariat responsible for the administration of the dispute settlement processes under the following trade agreements:
In the administration of the dispute settlement provisions of these agreements, the NAFTA Secretariat, Canadian Section, provides professional and advisory support to panels and committees, acts as registrar for dispute settlement panels and co-ordinates all financial aspects of the process.
As well, the Canadian Section is involved in facilitating the operations of these Agreements through the provision of information and professional services. This is achieved through initiatives such as the continual update of an Internet Web Site and the Integrated Registry Information System for docketing, tracking and reports relating to panel proceedings.