The new trade agreement between Canada and the United States, reached late Sunday, will see the two countries avoid further tariffs down the road, but it didn’t address some concerns the public had as the negotiations continued, in particular, the steel and aluminium tariffs. There was still some give and take between the two countries. While the United States did gain more access to the dairy markets, something dairy producers in Canada didn’t want to see happen, there is no sunset clause on the deal after five years and the conflict resolution parts of the original NAFTA deal remain in place for the most part.
“Generally speaking, Saskatchewan, Canada, we’re trading jurisdictions, and so any kind of structure we can put around those is beneficial, and we did very, very well under NAFTA,” explained Golden West Radio business commentator Paul Martin.
Some of the initial reports, in particular, the dairy industry, weren’t too pleased due to the changes in how supply management would be handled for the sector. There were more changes to the supply management sector as a whole, however, with the poultry sector and dairy sector impacted.
The larger scope of the agreements dealt with the supply management side, and other large industries such as automobiles. Martin explained while Saskatchewan may have a part of those industries, on a whole, we are a small player in those sectors.
For Saskatchewan, which has an export-based economy, Martin said the trade corridor needs to be kept open, and this deal will help.
“We need to be able to get our excess production to customers somewhere outside the jurisdiction of the province, and getting structure around those kinds of arrangements is very powerful stuff, and we need to have it, and we needed to have it done, and thankfully it did get done, even if it was at the eleventh hour.”
All the details about the deal, which still needs to be ratified in the House of Commons, are yet to come out, but there was some concern mentioned in terms of intellectual property. Currently, in Canada, a copyright remains in place for the lifetime of the creator, plus 50 years. Under the new trade agreement, it would be brought in line with American copyright law, which is the lifetime of the creator, plus 70 years.
There were also cultural exemptions which remained in place for television and media. This would allow Canada to restrict foreign ownership of television stations and other media outlets including newspapers and radio stations.
One part of the deal which was a sticking point for U.S. President Donald Trump was the conflict resolution of the agreement. Canadian negotiators were able to keep things as they were in the original NAFTA agreement.