Today the Trump administration formally notified Congress that it plans to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). This notification launches an official 90-day consultation period before formal negotiations with Canada and Mexico can proceed. This is a long expected procedural step. You can view the full notification letter here.
Much of the public rhetoric around NAFTA in the early days of the Trump administration focused on heavy manufacturing industries. However, the notification letter released today indicates that the Trump administration is thinking about updating NAFTA to reflect the digital economy, and suggests creating new provisions to address areas like intellectual property rights, regulatory practices, services, and small and medium enterprises.
ITAC has been following NAFTA renegotiations closely and is actively engaging with federal and provincial leaders to provide input on key priorities for the ICT industry. ITAC is also working with Global Affairs Canada to support the negotiations process.
Key priorities for our industry include:
- Ensuring Canadian ICT businesses are able to access U.S. government procurements, and are exempt from any “Buy American” rules.
- Maintaining Internet openness and the free flow of data across borders – including restrictions on the introduction of protectionist data residency requirements.
- Introducing NAFTA protections for the integrity of source code and cryptography keys from government regulators.
- Ensuring the free flow of labour across borders.
- Creating a pro-innovation U.S. intellectual property regime, that includes mechanisms to dissuade predatory or extortionist IP litigation.
- Remove impediments to cross border digital commerce.
ITAC is currently finalizing its official NAFTA submission to Global Affairs Canada. If your organization has priorities it would like ITAC to advance, please get in contact with David Messer, VP – Policy, as soon as possible at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As negotiations proceed, ITAC will do its best to keep members informed of developments that matter to the ICT industry in Canada.