CUSMA - What you need to know about the "New NAFTA"

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



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.

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.)