Canada-U.S. Secure Trade Deal

CBJ — It took 14 months of long, arduous negotiating but Canada and the U.S. finally reached an agreement on a new free trade deal and it came literally hours before the final deadline before the U.S. takes it to Congress.

The new trilateral agreement will no longer be called the North American Free Trade Agreement. It has been replaced by what will be known as the United States, Mexico and Canada Agreement, or USMCA.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer issued a joint statement late Sunday night after an agreement was reached at 9:30pm ET, with a midnight deadline looming large.

“USMCA will give our workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses a high-standard trade agreement that will result in freer markets, fairer trade and robust economic growth in our region. It will strengthen the middle class, and create good, well-paying jobs and new opportunities for the nearly half billion people who call North America home,” the statement read.

The the Chapter 19 dispute resolution mechanism remains intact; Canada will have a full cultural exemption; and Canada will be making some concessions on access to Canada’s supply-managed dairy sector.

There will be an exemption from the tariffs for a percentage of eligible auto exports. The U.S. and Mexico have a similar agreement for vehicles that have a certain percentage of components manufactured in the United States.

A finalized deal is still subject to approval of the federal cabinet and the U.S. Congress, but those are merely procedural processes.