1. For any matter that is not satisfactorily addressed through consultations under Article 23.9, a Party may, 90 days after the receipt of a request for consultations under Article 23.9.1, request that a Panel of Experts be convened to examine that matter, by delivering a written request to the contact point of the other Party.
2. Subject to the provisions of this Chapter, the Parties shall apply the Rules of Procedure and Code of Conduct set out in Annexes 29-A and 29-B, unless the Parties decide otherwise.
3. The Panel of Experts is composed of three panellists.
4. The Parties shall consult with a view to reaching an agreement on the composition of the Panel of Experts within 10 working days of the receipt by the responding Party of the request for the establishment of a Panel of Experts. Due attention shall be paid to ensuring that proposed panellists meet the requirements set out in paragraph 7 and have the expertise appropriate to the particular matter.
5. If the Parties are unable to decide on the composition of the Panel of Experts within the period of time specified in paragraph 4, the selection procedure set out in paragraphs 3 through 7 of Article 29.7 (Composition of the arbitration panel) applies in respect of the list established in paragraph 6.
6. The Committee on Trade and Sustainable Development shall, at its first meeting after the entry into force of this Agreement, establish a list of at least nine individuals chosen for their objectivity, reliability and sound judgment, who are willing and able to serve as panellists. Each Party shall name at least three individuals to the list to serve as panellists. The Parties shall also name at least three individuals who are not nationals of either Party and who are willing and able to serve as chairperson of a Panel of Experts. The Committee on Trade and Sustainable Development shall ensure that the list is always maintained at this level.
7. The experts proposed as panellists must have specialised knowledge or expertise in labour law, other issues addressed in this Chapter, or in the resolution of disputes arising under international agreements. They must be independent, serve in their individual capacities and not take instructions from any organisation or government with regard to the matter in issue. They must not be affiliated with the government of either Party, and must comply with the Code of Conduct referred to in paragraph 2.
8. Unless the Parties decide otherwise, within five working days of the date of the selection of the panellists, the terms of reference of the Panel of Experts are as follows: “to examine, in the light of the relevant provisions of Chapter Twenty-Three (Trade and Labour), the matter referred to in the request for the establishment of the Panel of Experts, and to deliver a report, in accordance with Article 23.10 (Panel of Experts) of Chapter Twenty-Three (Trade and Labour), that makes recommendations for the resolution of the matter.”
9. In respect of matters related to multilateral agreements as set out in Article 23.3, the Panel of Experts should seek information from the ILO, including any pertinent available interpretative guidance, findings or decisions adopted by the ILO.29
10. The Panel may request and receive written submissions or any other information from persons with relevant information or specialised knowledge.
11. The Panel of Experts shall issue to the Parties an interim report and a final report setting out the findings of fact, its determinations on the matter including as to whether the responding Party has conformed with its obligations under this Chapter and the rationale behind any findings, determinations and recommendations that it makes. The Panel of Experts shall deliver to the Parties the interim report within 120 days after the last panellist is selected, or as otherwise decided by the Parties. The Parties may provide comments to the Panel of Experts on the interim report within 45 days of its delivery. After considering these comments, the Panel of Experts may reconsider its report or carry out any further examination that it considers appropriate. The Panel of Experts shall deliver the final report to the Parties within 60 days of the submission of the interim report. Each Party shall make the final report publicly available within 30 days of its delivery.
12. If the final report of the Panel of Experts determines that a Party has not conformed with its obligations under this Chapter, the Parties shall engage in discussions and shall endeavour, within three months of the delivery of the final report, to identify appropriate measures or, if appropriate, to decide upon a mutually satisfactory action plan. In these discussions, the Parties shall take into account the final report. The responding Party shall inform in a timely manner its labour or sustainable development advisory groups and the requesting Party of its decision on any actions or measures to be implemented. Furthermore, the requesting Party shall inform in a timely manner its labour or sustainable development advisory groups and the responding Party of any other action or measure it may decide to take, as a follow-up to the final report, to encourage the resolution of the matter in a manner consistent with this Agreement. The Committee on Trade and Sustainable Development shall monitor the follow-up to the final report and the recommendations of the Panel of Experts. The labour or sustainable development advisory groups of the Parties and the Civil Society Forum may submit observations to the Committee on Trade and Sustainable Development in this regard.
13. If the Parties reach a mutually agreed solution to the matter following the establishment of a Panel of Experts, they shall notify the Committee on Trade and Sustainable Development and the Panel of Experts of that solution. Upon that notification, the panel procedure shall be terminated.