Business team on top of the globe. European and African side. Conceptual business illustration. Isolated

President Trump has said that he wants to renegotiate NAFTA.  Rather than taking a negative view of change, ask yourself “What is on my NAFTA Renegotation Wish List?”.  What changes to NAFTA could benefit your business?  What improvements to NAFTA can save your business money?  What adjustments will improve your business’ supply chain?  What should Canada ask for?

The Canadian Government needs your NAFTA Renegotiation Wish List.  Some of the items of Canada’s NAFTA Renegotiation Wish List are:

  1. A Softwood Lumber Agreement;
  2. Additional Labour Mobility categories so that more Canadians do not require visas to travel to the United States on business related activities;
  3. Changes to Rules of Origin that would improve access of Canadian goods to the United States market on a duty-free basis;
  4. Regulatory Coherence across industry sectors (which would include regulatory reductions);
  5. More Mutual Recognition;
  6. Provisions relating to E-commerce and the digital economy;
  7. Improvements to NAFTA Chapter 11 “Investment Chapter” similar to the clarifications in TPP;
  8. Electricity Infrastructure Integration provisions;
  9. Additional Customs Facilitation provisions such as preclearance provisions, auto inspection, cargo pre-inspection, trusted traveler, etc.; and
  10. Integrated Canada-US market recognition for the purposes of government procurement/regulation (in other words, exemptions for Buy-America clauses in government procurement and federal, state and local statutes.

This list can go on further – but I will stop at 10 items.  Each of these items needs to be developed more fully and with specificity. Canadian businesses need to develop specific NAFTA Renegotiation Wish Lists.  For example, businesses can identify specific rules of origin that need to be changed and what the specific changes should be.

Which business activities should be exempted under NAFTA from visa requirements.  Canada and U.S entities have integrated R & D activities – the people should be able to cross the border without a work permit in order to work cooperatively on R & D to develop advanced medical equipment, automobiles, green energy, etc.  Astronauts and aviation experts are not on the professionals list. It is not clear that persons in the digital sciences and Silicon Valley professions are covered by NAFTA Chapter 16.  What is most surprising is that actors and all persons involved in film production are not NAFTA business visitors.

This is an important discussion for Canadian business owners to engage in.  There is no way for the Government of Canada to guess.  The Canadian officials have an opportunity to find common NAFTA renegotiation benefits with the Trump administration.

If you have any questions, please contact Cyndee Todgham Cherniak at 416-307-4168 or cyndee@lexsage.com.