OTTAWA, ON (October 5, 2018): Remember, folks, you heard it first at MLI. Five weeks ago, we predicted with a high degree of accuracy exactly what shape the final deal would look like that made a renewed NAFTA agreement possible with the US and Mexico.
Everyone knows that the federal government announced this week it has reached a deal on a United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) to replace NAFTA. This follows 14 months of difficult negotiations and increasingly turbulent relations with the Trump administration.
MLI’s experts have been at the forefront on outlining what was needed to reach agreement on the future of NAFTA, and we are delighted to see that our recommendations were generally in-line with how the negotiations successfully concluded.
For instance, Brian Lee Crowley and Sean Speer wrote weeks ago that it was already possible to see the broad outlines of a deal that would make it possible for Canada and the US to agree on a NAFTA renewal, and that that deal was very much in Canada’s interests. They recommended that Ottawa reach agreement with the US on that basis as follows:
- Accept the much longer sunset clause and the auto provisions that Mexico had negotiated with Washington;
- Agree to the strengthening of intellectual property protection, particularly on pharmaceuticals, not because the US asked for it but because it was in Canada’s interests to do so;
- Acquiesce in US demands to reduce protectionist barriers around supply management in dairy, especially if doing so would bring the US to accede to Canada’s demand to preserve the Chapter 19 dispute resolution mechanism in NAFTA. Such reform was doubly in Canada’s interests in that it would weaken a policy that made Canadian staple foods needlessly expensive and it would help us preserve a dispute settlement mechanism that has traditionally been regarded as an important safeguard against a politicised US trade tribunal system.
Don’t just take our word for it. According to one of the leading experts on Canada-US relations, Christopher Sands, “The Institute has once again shown that it is far ahead of the curve on Canadian public policy by shining a bright light on the practical path forward at a time when many commentators were predicting the failure of negotiations over NAFTA renewal. Weeks later those negotiations have succeeded, and the compromises that made the resulting USMCA possible look remarkably like the ones that MLI’s analysts recommended.”
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MLI Managing Editor and Communications Director
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