OTTAWA – After 14 months of hand-wringing, there’s a new North
American trade pact. Here’s an early look at some of the winners and
losers in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement:
Automakers: A side letter published along with the main text of
the agreement leaves out a percentage of eligible auto exports from
tariffs – a move viewed as a win for the Canadian auto industry.
Dispute resolution: Canada fought hard to maintain a key
dispute-resolution provision, known as Chapter 19, allowing
independent panels to solve disputes involving companies and
governments. It also preserved Chapter 20, a
government-to-government dispute-settlement mechanism.
Environment: A chapter in the North American Free Trade
Agreement allowing companies to sue governments over perceived
mistreatment has been scrapped – a move Foreign Affairs Minister
Chrystia Freeland says will result in lowered penalties for
taxpayers as well as a strengthened ability to protect public health
and the environment.
Cultural industries: Rules around copyright and intellectual
property are set to change, extending the window after a creator’s
death to preserve rights to 70 years from 50.
Online shoppers: Canadian consumers won’t have to fork out
duties for online purchases from the U.S. worth up to $150, an
increase from the current $20.
Dairy farmers: The dairy industry was quick to criticize the
renegotiated USMCA, saying it will limit exports while opening
Canada to more American products. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau,
however, says there will be compensation for dairy farmers.
Steel and aluminum sector: Industry leaders say they are
disappointed the trade deal doesn’t include an end to steep U.S.
tariffs, adding there will be efforts to resolve the issue in the
days leading to the final signing of the agreement.
Drugs: The deal extends patents on biological drugs to 10 years
from eight – an additional two years than desired for access to
cheaper generic drugs used to treat conditions like Crohn’s disease
and rheumatoid arthritis.
JURY’S STILL OUT
Gender advocates: At the onset of negotiations, Freeland pushed
for a chapter in the deal specific to gender rights as part of a
broader promise to promote equality but no such chapter made its way
into the USMCA. She says, however, there is some “good language”
in USMCA around gender.
Indigenous Peoples: Assembly of First Nations National Chief
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Perry Bellegarde lobbied for inclusion of a separate chapter in the
renegotiated agreement on Indigenous Peoples but it also fell by the
wayside. Still, he sees the USMCA as “the most inclusive
international trade agreement for Indigenous peoples to date,”
pointing to provisions that protect rights.