Trade relations among North American countries have been on a rollercoaster since 2016. All three countries have agreed on a deal (CUSMA). CUSMA includes new elements that did not exist under NAFTA, such as a sunset clause, a “non-market economy” clause, and a chapter on digital trade. Canada also succeeded in maintaining elements included in NAFTA, such as the cultural exemption, the trade dispute resolution mechanism, core components of NAFTA related to the auto industry, Canada’s supply management system, and intellectual property, although with some changes and additions. In many cases, the changes and additions reflect concessions by Canada.
While the deal was signed, it has yet to be ratified. The continued uncertainty about the future of the deal and the difficult circumstances in which the negotiations took place both point to the need for Canada to diversify its trade and work on improving its global competitiveness.