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Canadian public comments on NAFTA are due July 18

Author(s): Margaret Kim, Peter Glossop, Riyaz Dattu

July 11, 2017

Our last international trade brief dealt with the public comments on NAFTA renegotiations filed with the USTR, U.S. retailers and an updated NAFTA, why Canada should forge ahead with the TPP without the U.S., and a trade case alert involving a Canadian anti-dumping and countervailing investigation being initiated for certain carbon and alloy steel line pipe from Korea. In this brief, we address the deadline for the submissions of public comments to Global Affairs Canada on the renegotiation and modernization of NAFTA.  

Canadian businesses should be mindful that the deadline for submitting comments to Global Affairs Canada on the renegotiation and modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is only one week away, on Tuesday July 18, 2017.

The notice from Global Affairs Canada [PDF] identifies several NAFTA topics as requiring clarification and technical improvements such as labour, environment and culture. Other areas of interest include customs procedures, rules of origin for manufactured goods (including automotive products), supply management, government procurement and binational dispute resolution of trade remedies cases.

In addition to improving or amending existing NAFTA provisions, the Canadian government is also inviting comments on the following:

  • E-commerce;
  • Transparency and anti-corruption;
  • Trade facilitation;
  • Development of small and medium-sized enterprises;
  • State-owned enterprises;
  • Co-operation and capacity building; and
  • Regulatory coherence

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, during its comment gathering process, received a total of 12,451 submissions. Businesses will find it useful to refer to the comments submitted to the U.S Trade Representative available here.

Some Canadian businesses will have already participated in the U.S. process either directly or indirectly (as a subsidiary of a multinational corporation or as a member of a trade association). Nevertheless, submitting a similar set of comments to Global Affairs Canada in order to reinforce a point of view may be advisable. On the other hand, for some businesses, there may be sensitivities in articulating a similar or different approach to Global Affairs Canada. Still, others may find that their unique circumstances can accommodate a separate Canadian submission.