NAFTA 2.0 and Canada: Upgrading a 20th Century Deal for a 21st Century World

The Conference Board of Canada, 81 pages, June 1, 2017
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The election of Donald Trump has pushed renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement to the top of the list of Canada’s trade priorities. This report provides recommendations on what Canada should seek to achieve.

Document Highlights

Canada faces a balancing act between defending existing market access outlined in NAFTA as it exists now and updating the agreement to meet the requirements of a 21st-century economy.
This report recommends five broad objectives for Canada as it sets out to renegotiate NAFTA:

  • Adopt a transparent, trilateral approach.
  • Facilitate cross-border mobility of business people.
  • Maintain and enhance access for goods
  • Encourage innovation and digital trade while protecting intellectual property and culture.
  • Modernize the agreement to today’s business realities and standards.

In each area, we make specific recommendations to advance Canada’s interests.

Table of Contents


Introduction–Freer North American Trade: The Road Thus Far

  • CUSFTA and NAFTA: The Impacts on Canada and the United States
  • Recommendations for NAFTA 2.0

Recommendation 1–Adopt an Inclusive, Participatory, and Trilateral Approach

  • Increasing the Transparency of Trade Negotiations
  • Maintaining a Trilateral Agreement

Recommendation 2–Facilitate Cross-Border Mobility of Business People to Support Services Trade

  • Business Visitors: The Need for Clearer Rules
  • Professionals: Broadening the List of Covered Occupations

Recommendation 3–Maintain and Enhance Goods Market Access

  • Government Procurement: Securing Access to U.S. Transportation Projects and Increasing Coverage at the State Level
  • Softwood Lumber: More Stability and Predictability for Canadian Producers and Exporters
  • Auto Sector: Finding Opportunity in Change
  • Supply Management: An Opportunity for Fundamental Reform

Recommendation 4–Encouraging Innovation and Digital Trade While Protecting Intellectual Property and Canadian Culture

  • Intellectual Property: Maximizing Canada’s Innovation Potential With Balanced IP Rules
  • Digital Trade: Updating NAFTA to the Digital Age While Protecting Canada’s Interests
  • Culture: Ensuring Canadian Culture Can Thrive in the Digital Age

Recommendation 5–Modernize NAFTA to Today’s Business Realities and Standards

  • Rules of Origin: Reducing the Burden on SMEs
  • Investor-State Dispute Settlement: Restoring Consistency and Predictability in Tribunal Decisions
  • Labour Rights and Environmental Protection: Raising the Standard
  • Energy Sector: Removing the Proportionality Clause
  • Conclusion

Appendix A–Bibliography

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