Canada under pressure on NAFTA negotiations while provisions of the US-Mexico preliminary deal get released
Business and political leaders are increasing the pressure on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to agree on a deal to renew the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Negotiators from the United States and Canada met earlier this month for negotiations. The US has been discussing with Mexico – the third party in the agreement – separately, and leaders from both countries announced that they reached a preliminary deal in August. This raised speculation on whether Canada will take part in the revised deal. A factsheet published by the Office of the US Trade Representative mentions some provisions in the preliminary US-Mexico deal, which includes a chapter on digital trade. These provisions include: prohibiting the application of customs duties to digital products distributed electronically; ensuring that data can be transferred cross-border; ensuring that suppliers are not restricted in their use of electronic authentication or electronic signatures; limiting governments’ ability to require disclosure of proprietary computer source code and algorithms; promoting collaboration in tackling cybersecurity challenges; guaranteeing that enforceable consumer protections, including for privacy and unsolicited communications, apply to the digital marketplace. Both countries agreed to raise the de minimis shipment value level to $100 USD, up from $50 USD. The proposal also attempts to limit the civil liability of Internet platforms for third-party content, with the exception of intellectual property enforcement. This last provision seems to go against initiatives to re-discuss the limitations on platform liability being introduced in other countries.