The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was enacted to eliminate barriers to trade and investment between Canada, Mexico and the United States. The original agreement entered into force on January 1, 1994. The following websites provide reliable background information about NAFTA:
On November 30, 2018, after more than a year of negotiations, the U.S., Canada, and Mexico signed a new trade agreement, which incorporates much of the original NAFTA agreement, with some modifications. These include modest enhancements to the environmental and labor provisions, updated intellectual property protections, changes to the rules of origin for automobiles, greater access to the Canadian market for U.S. dairy farmers, and a sunset provision. In addition, Canada negotiated an opt-out from the investor-state dispute settlement provision.
The revised agreement, known in the U.S. as the United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA), in English-speaking Canada at the Canada United States Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), and in Mexico as the Tratado entre México Estados Unidos y Canadá (T-MEC), is in the process of being ratified by Canada and Mexico. Ratification by the U.S. is subject to the Presidential Trade Promotion Authority Act, which requires approval by both house of Congress. It is unclear whether Congress will ratify the revised agreement.
The full text of the revised USMCA, along with supporting and explanatory documentation, is available from the following governmental websites:
Chapter 20 of NAFTA governs state-to-state disputes. Chapter 19 governs appeals of panel decisions in state-to-state disputes involving anti-dumping measures or countervailing duties. Chapter 11 governs investor-state disputes.
All are updated regularly.
Under the revised USMCA agreement, the Chapter 20 and Chapter 19 provisions governing state-to-state disputes were retained. The Chapter 11 provisions governing investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) also were retained in a re-numbered Chapter 14. However, Canada negotiated an opt-out from the ISDS provisions. Assuming that the revised agreement is ratified by all parties, Canada will have a full exemption from the ISDS provisions within three years after the original NAFTA agreement has been superseded.