On June 3, 2017, the Canada Gazette published a notice from Global Affairs Canada announcing that the Government of Canada is seeking the views of Canadians on the scope of the renegotiation and modernization of the existing 23 year old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with the United States and Mexico. The notice stated in part:
The Government of Canada is committed to strengthening and deepening relationships with its North American partners. As the Government prepares for these discussions, the Government is seeking views on key areas in NAFTA that could be clarified or updated, and on any new areas that should form part of a modernized agreement. Furthermore, given that NAFTA has been in force for over 20 years, the Government is seeking information on the areas that have been the most beneficial to Canadian exporters. Views should also take into account reactions to potential proposals from the United States or Mexico where Canada could be pressed to take on commitments to address perceived trade irritants.
This notice is part of the Government of Canada’s ongoing domestic consultation process with stakeholders, including provinces and territories, businesses, civil society organizations, labour unions, academia, Canada’s Indigenous peoples, and individual Canadians.
Given that the Agreement is over 23 years old, there are many clarifications and technical improvements that could be made in all trade areas covered by NAFTA, such as labour, the environment or culture. The Agreement would also benefit from the inclusion of new trade areas, such as electronic commerce, that are not currently covered, to ensure the Agreement is aligned with today’s economic realities. Canada is committed to upholding and supporting a vibrant and globally competitive North American manufacturing sector that provides stable, rewarding, and well-paying jobs for Canadians.
Additional information on the public consultations on the renegotiation and modernization of NAFTA can be found at the following addresses:
- Global Affairs Canada (http://www.international.gc.ca/ ):
- Consulting Canadians on the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement with the United States and Mexico (http://www.international.gc.ca/nafta)
The Government is seeking input on the following questions:
- In your view, what should be a priority for the Government of Canada in the renegotiation of NAFTA (e.g. trade areas, practices, issues)?
- Are there elements of NAFTA that are working well and should be preserved or improved upon?
- Are you aware of any trade practices, laws or regulations in the United States, and/or in Mexico, that undermine or could undermine meaningful market access for Canadian goods and services?
More specifically, Canada is seeking views on the following areas included in NAFTA:
- General Definitions
- National Treatment and Market Access for Goods
- Annex 300-A: Trade and Investment in the Automotive Sector
- Annex 300-B: Textile and Apparel Goods
- Rules of Origin
- Annex 401: Specific Rules of Origin
- Customs Procedures
- Energy and Basic Petrochemicals
- Agriculture and Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures
- Emergency Action
- Standards-Related Measures
- Government Procurement
- Cross-Border Trade in Services
- Financial Services
- Competition Policy, Monopolies and State Enterprises
- Temporary Entry for Business Persons
- Intellectual Property
- Publication, Notification and Administration of Laws
- Review and Dispute Settlement in Antidumping/ Countervailing Duty Matters
- Institutional Arrangements and Dispute Settlement Procedures
- Annex I: Reservations for Existing Measures and Liberalization Commitments
- Annex II: Reservations for Future Measures
- Annex III: Activities Reserved to the State
- Annex IV: Exceptions from Most-Favored-Nation Treatment
- Annex V: Quantitative Restrictions
- Annex VI: Miscellaneous Commitments
- Annex VII: Reservations, Specific Commitments and Other Items