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The heart of the deal—CUSMA’s Impact on Canada’s Economy

From NAFTA to CUSMA, The Changes, the Additions and What Remains?

Ottawa, June 13, 2019—The planned ratification of CUSMA, or the USMCA, may deliver stability for Canada’s economy for at least six years. But exactly how the changes and additions will impact our economy is the heart of the matter.

“CUSMA, from a Canadian perspective is more about protecting existing NAFTA provisions and ending uncertainty as investors and exporters weighed the possibility that Canada would lose its tariff-free access to the huge U.S. consumer market,” said Julie Adès, Senior Economist, Global Commerce Centre, The Conference Board of Canada. “It is also important to note that ratification of CUSMA will likely have implications for years to come on our nation’s trade prospects around the globe.”

In From NAFTA to CUSMA, The Conference Board of Canada provides an analysis of significant changes and potential implications of CUSMA on the Canadian economy.

Report Highlights (June 2019)

  • Canada remains entitled to appeal any U.S. anti-dumping and countervailing duty determinations to an independent, binational panel. Under NAFTA, Canada won most of the disputes that went to the panel for review.
  • CUSMA, like NAFTA, protects the North American auto industry. But under CUSMA, the rules of origin are even stricter.
  • CUSMA’s digital trade chapter is based in large part on the CPTPP’s “Electronic Commerce” chapter, and includes commitments that may limit the government’s options in the development of its national data strategy.
  • 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.

A copy of the From NAFTA to CUSMA report for editorial use is available for download or by e-mailing

CUSMA: Test your Knowledge

Julie Adès, Senior Economist, Global Commerce Centre, The Conference Board of Canada is available for interviews.

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