The ultimate NAFTA primer
Canada, Mexico and the U.S. went back to the bargaining table on Aug. 16. Get caught up with our guide to the key players, disputes and strategies
Need a NAFTA refresher? Here is where you should begin:
The Canadian strategy
Read through expert insights on what Canada should fight for – and how.
- What Canada wants from NAFTA 2.0, and how to get it: A Globe editorial on how the Trudeau government has been making all the right moves in dealing with, and maneuvering around, the Trump administration.
- Canada’s intellectual property strategy must play to the country’s strength: Dan Breznitz, Munk Chair of Innovation Studies and Mark Fox, professor and American Association for Artificial Intelligence fellow, write about how Canada needs to become an innovation-based economy.
- For manufacturers, managing Chapter 19 is the top NAFTA priority: Dennis Darby, president and CEO of Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, says getting rid of Chapter 19 is one of the main objectives of the U.S. going into the talks, and it’s a deal breaker for Canadian manufacturers.
- What Canada should fight for at NAFTA talks: Andrei Sulzenko, former trade negotiator, writes about Canada’s own list of “improvements” designed largely to mitigate a long history of U.S. protectionism.
- Inclusive trade should be a top priority for Canadian negotiators: Success for the Canadian economy is not about how many trade deals the government is able to secure or salvage; real success is about the quality of such deals, writes Andrea Stairs, managing director at eBay Canada.
What will be talked about?
President Trump has vowed to slash the U.S.'s trade deficit. But is a deficit really such a bad thing? Many experts have slammed Mr. Trump's objective.
- Why Trump’s trade deficit fixation could be dangerous for U.S.: President Donald Trump is holding firm to a controversial promise that would upend a quarter-century of globalization on the continent: slashing America’s long-running trade deficit.
- Hey, Mr. Trump: Canada can’t fix your trade deficit: The U.S. could walk away from free trade with Canada and it wouldn’t put a dent in its trade deficit, Barrie Mckenna writes.
- A trade deficit doesn’t mean you’re losing the game: Contrary to Trump’s claim, a trade imbalance is not inherently bad.
- Canada’s growing trade surplus with U.S. is both good and bad news: Economics reporter David Parkinson says the trade surplus with U.S. is widening, which does not help negotiations with the Trump administration.
Chapter 19 could be Canada's sticking point in negotiations.
- Is Chapter 19 worth fighting for in NAFTA negotiations? The Americans see the dispute-panel system as an affront to the sovereignty of their domestic laws and courts, and want to scrap it, writes columnist David Parkinson.
- Ottawa draws line on U.S. plan to remove NAFTA dispute mechanism: The Trudeau government is prepared to walk away from NAFTA negotiations if the Trump administration insists that dispute-settlement panels be removed from the accord, a senior official says.
- NAFTA’s Chapter 11 provision under fire: Global energy reporter Shawn McCarthy writes about the urge for the Liberal government to demand significant reform to the “investor-state dispute settlement” (ISDS) mechanism contained in the treaty’s controversial Chapter 11.
Mr. Trump has called Canada's restrictions on dairy imports a "disgrace," raising expectations that supply management will be under pressure.
- Weak support for supply management in NAFTA talks: poll A new survey shows most Canadians would accept a weakening of protections for domestic dairy, egg and poultry producers as part of a renegotiation of the NAFTA, parliamentary reporter Bill Curry writes.
- Canada vows to defend supply management as NAFTA talks set to start in August: Lawrence MacAulay, the federal Agriculture Minister, vows Canada will defend its controversial support for dairy farmers ahead of NAFTA talks.
- Countries pile on in attack of Canada’s dairy regime: This year’s World Trade Organization gathering in Geneva quickly turned into finger-pointing at Canada’s dairy supply-management regime, Barrie McKenna writes.
- U.S. dairy lobby submits its demands for NAFTA: The U.S. dairy industry has submitted its demands for the upcoming renegotiation of NAFTA, pushing for freer trade in dairy overall and more specifically for a reversal of new Canadian rules on milk-derived products.
An estimated 30,000 to 40,000 Canadians currently work in the U.S. under a fast-track process called the non-immigrant NAFTA professional visa, or TN visa.
- Employers worry about potential changes to cross-border worker visas: Potential changes to U.S. immigration laws could make it more difficult for Canadians to work and live full-time in the United States.
NAFTA was designed for a very different economy. Digital issues – from intellectual property to e-commerce – could wind up on the bargaining table.
- Is Ottawa ready for a New Economy version of NAFTA? The economy has undergone a radical transformation in the nearly 25 years since the North American free-trade agreement was signed. It’s gone digital.
- What would a digital-economy-era NAFTA mean for Canadians? Michael Geist, Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, says its clear that the renegotiation will involve much more than just a few “tweaks.”
- The trouble for Canadian digital policy in an ‘America first’ world: Canadian digital policy over the past decade has been marked by a “made-in-Canada” approach that ensures consistency with international law but reflects national values and norms.
Have more time? Here are essential NAFTA readings from The Globe