International Trade Law Research Guide

This guide features resources on international trade law.

NAFTA and the USMCA (NAFTA 2.0)

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. On November 30, 2018, after more than a year of intense negotiations, the U.S., Canada, and Mexico signed a new trade agreement, which incorporates much of the original NAFTA agreement, with some modifications. 

Highlights of the revised trade agreement 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 as the Canada United States Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), and in Mexico as the Tratado entre México Estados Unidos y Canadá (T-MEC), entered into force on July 1, 2020.

USMCA Secretariat
The Secretariat was established under Article 30.6 of the USMCA to administer the agreement's dispute settlement mechanisms.  Visit the Secretariat's website to access the following content:

The full text of the revised USMCA, along with supporting and explanatory documentation, also is available from the following governmental websites:

USMCA Documents Directory
The Foreign Trade Information System (SICE) of the Organization of American States maintains this convenient and well-organized directory of documents related to the negotiation of the USMCA, its entry into force, and its implementation.  Most documents are available for download in PDF format.  Some are available in French and Spanish, in addition to English.

Secondary Sources & Bibliographies on NAFTA

NAFTA Panel Decisions

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.

Electronic Sources

Print Sources

All are updated regularly.

Changes Under the USMCA

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.  Canada will have a full exemption from the ISDS provisions beginning on July 1, 2023, three years after the USMCA entered into force and the original NAFTA agreement was superseded.