Canada, the United States and Mexico signed a new North American trade agreement to replace NAFTA on November 30, 2018. The CUSMA (or USMCA in the U.S.) came into force in Canada in July 2020. Like NAFTA, the new agreement established more than two dozen trilateral committees and includes some classic and some new procedures for resolving disputes between two or more countries.
CUSMA's labour provisions and facility-based rapid-response mechanism, for example, are significant improvements on the toothless NAFTA side-agreement on labour. But the agreement also sustains and expands many of NAFTA's corporate-biased restrictions on public policy space while introducing problematic new language on intellectual property rights, "good regulatory practices," and e-commerce, among other areas.
Another positive feature of the "New NAFTA" is that Canada and the U.S. agreed to eliminate recourse to investor-state dispute settlement for investors and companies to challenge public policy decisions in either country. Canada should follow this up by removing ISDS from its many other international trade and investment treaties as part of an ambitious trade reform agenda that puts workers and the planet before corporate profits.
Op-eds and blogs
- Sunny ways for Canadian solar?, By Stuart Trew and Corum Bok Holtz, Monitor Magazine, February 17, 2022
- How (not) to make a North American car, By Angelo DiCaro, Monitor Magazine, January 24, 2022
- The tale of the dead oil pipeline and the zombie trade agreement, By Kyla Tienhaara, Monitor Magazine, December 3, 2021
- Demanding justince: can trade be fair?, By Gavin Fridell and Kate Ervine, Monitor Magazine, September 21, 2021
- CUSMA's labour mechanism a testing ground for protecting North American workers, By Laura Macdonald and Angelo DiCaro, Monitor Magazine, July 19, 2021
- Seed is the key to the kingdom, By Cathy Holtslander, Monitor Magazine, May 10, 2021
- Trade agreements like NAFTA are a menace to democracy, By Scott Sinclair, Jacobin magazine, March 4, 2021.
- If we want to clean up the oceans, we have to confront the fossil fuel giants, by Stuart Trew, Jacobin magazine, February 10, 2021.
- Joe Biden's "Buy American" plans shouldn't scare Canadians, by Scott Sinclair, National Observer, October 21, 2020.
- What's next for the "New NAFTA"? And what, if anything, can Canadians do about it?, by Scott Sinclair, February 19, 2020
- How the "New NAFTA" will affect Canadians, by Scott Sinclair in The Tyee, December 10, 2019
- Envisioning a progressive trade agenda for the 21st century, by Scott Sinclair, Manuel Perez-Rocha and Ethan Earle, July 12, 2019
- CUSMA's "Good Regulatory Practices" are bad for workers, consumers and sustainable trade, by Stuart Trew, May 24, 2019
- USMCA and drug costs: Time to stand up to Big Pharma, by Scott Sinclair, April 11, 2019
- The New NAFTA is a missed opportunity for gender equality, by Laura Macondald and Nadia Ibrahim, January 23, 2019
- Future of USMCA could turn on labour rights, by Scott Sinclair, Nov. 29, 2018
- The new NAFTA: What’s the deal with energy?, by Amy Janzwood, Nov. 21, 2018
- USMCA: Red tape for regulators, by Stuart Trew, Oct. 24, 2018
- Updated NAFTA deal a profound failure for climate action, by Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood, Oct. 12, 2018
- USMCA strikes a welcome blow against investor-state dispute settlement, by Scott Sinclair, Oct. 10, 2018
- NAFTA end game: The predictable and perilous trade-offs facing Canada, by Scott Sinclair, Sept. 7, 2018
- Amid NAFTA turmoil, Trudeau government quietly ditches progressive trade agenda, by Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood, Aug. 30, 2018
- The Rise and Demise of NAFTA Chapter 11, by Scott Sinclair, April 15, 2021
- Beyond NAFTA 2.0. - A Trade Agenda for People and Planet, a joint publication of the CCPA, Institute for Policy Studies, and Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung-New York Office, July 9, 2019
- International regulatory cooperation and the public good (includes analysis of the CUSMA regulatory cooperation chapter), by Stuart Trew, May 22, 2019
- The future of the Canadian auto industry, by Charlotte Yates and John Holmes, February 26, 2019
- Saving NAFTA Chapter 19: Was it worth it?, by Scott Sinclair, Oct. 23, 2018
- Canada’s track record under NAFTA Chapter 11: North American investor-state disputes to January 2018, by Scott Sinclair, Jan. 16, 2018
- What is the NAFTA advantage? Putting the tariff impacts of a Trump termination in perspective, by Pierre Laliberté and Scott Sinclair, June 29, 2017
- A sustainable and progressive NAFTA: CCPA submission to Global Affairs Canada on the renegotiation and modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement, by Scott Sinclair, Stuart Trew and Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood, July 19, 2017
The Green New Deal(s) the World Needs Now - In the spring of 2020, the CCPA partnered with the New York and Brussels offices of the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, the Institute for Policy Studies and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy to convene a series of webinars on the transformative and internationalist responses to the climate emergency that the world needs right now.
Presentation to Parliament on CUSMA - On February 25, 2020, Stuart Trew, editor of the Monitor and CCPA researcher, was a witness before the Standing Committee on International Trade's review of Bill C-4, An Act to implement the Agreement between Canada, the United States of America and the United Mexican States.
Red Eye Podcast - How will the "New NAFTA," or CUSMA, affect workers, climate and environmental policy, farmers and consumers? And what, if anything, can Canada do to affect the outcome of the Trump-led NAFTA renegotiation now that the deal has been passed in the U.S. and Mexico? In February 2020, the CCPA's senior trade researcher Scott Sinclair spoke with Ian Mass of the Red Eye podcast about these and other aspects of the CUSMA debate currently unfolding in trade committee hearings on Parliament Hill.
Beyond Neoliberalism: Toward a Trade Agenda for People and the Planet
Audio recordings of presentations to a trade alternatives workshop in Ottawa on October 30, 2019 that was organized by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the Trade Justice Network, with support from Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung-New York.
- Maude Barlow - The Struggle for Fair, Sustainable Trade (19:46)
- Pamela Palmater - Indigenous Rights and Trade (10:30)
- Gavin Fridell - Food Sovereignty and Trade (8:01)
- Laura Macdonald - Trade and Gender (12:48)
- Marc-André Gagnon - Accès à des médicaments abordables (en français, 13:08)
- Meg Gingrich - Labour Rights and Trade (10:38)
- Manuel Pérez-Rocha - Investment Protection and ISDS (12:27)
- Meghan Sali - Digital Trade and Rights (14:52)
- Claude Vaillancourt - Le libre-échange et la diversité culturelle (en français, 11:36)
- Scott Sinclair - Trade and the Green New Deal (12:11)
- Howard Mann - The declining economic and social returns of free trade (16:37)
The “New NAFTA”: Red Tape for Regulators? In this webinar, the CCPA’s Stuart Trew and Sharon Treat of the U.S.-based Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy explain how the USMCA’s chapters on technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phytosanitary standards and “good regulatory practices” will put hurdles in the way of environmental, public health and consumer protection policies. (Webinar recorded on Nov. 16, 2018.)