The B.C. government is seeking input from stakeholders across the province to help inform B.C.’s position and priorities at the upcoming North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) re-negotiations between Canada, the United States and Mexico.
Stakeholders and interested individuals are invited to submit their input to the B.C. Government’s Call for Submissions webpage, which will remain open throughout the negotiations.
Submissions can be emailed to Trade.Policy@gov.bc.ca or posted by mail to:
Trade Policy and Negotiations
PO Box 9835 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria, British Columbia
Submissions may be made publicly available on the Ministry website unless the author specifies otherwise.
The first round of the NAFTA renegotiations will get underway on Aug. 16, 2017.
To learn more about the NAFTA negotiations, visit the Government of Canada website.
- Canada, the United States and Mexico signed NAFTA in 1994.
- The United States is B.C.’s largest trading partner. Last year, B.C. exported $21.2 billion in goods to the United States, up 12.6% over 2015.
- The Province continues to diversify B.C.’s export markets. In 2016, 54% of B.C.’s goods exports went to the U.S., compared to 61% just 10 years ago.
Canada – United States
- 400,000 people and over $2.4 billion worth of goods and services cross the Canada–U.S. border daily.
- 1.9 million Canadian jobs are related to Canada exports to the U.S.
- Canada is the largest merchandise export market for the U.S. and one of the three largest country merchandise export markets for 48 U.S. states.
- Almost 9 million jobs in the U.S. depend on trade and investment with Canada.
- In 2016, the U.S. exported nearly US$266 billion of merchandise to Canada.
Canada – Mexico
- Since 1993, Mexico-Canada merchandise trade grew nine-fold, while services trade has increased six-fold.
NAFTA came into effect on January 1, 1994, creating the largest free trade region in the world at that time, generating economic growth and helping to raise the standard of living for the people of all three member countries. By strengthening the rules and procedures governing trade and investment, NAFTA has proven to be a solid foundation for building Canada’s prosperity and has set a valuable example of the benefits of trade liberalization for the rest of the world.
Given that the Agreement is over 23 years old, there are many clarifications and technical improvements that could be made in all trade areas covered by NAFTA, such as labour, the environment, or culture, for example. NAFTA would also benefit from the inclusion of new trade areas, such as electronic commerce, that are not currently covered, to ensure the agreement is aligned with today’s economic realities.
Under NAFTA, total trilateral merchandise trade, as measured by the total of each country’s imports from its other two NAFTA partners, reached nearly USD$ 1 trillion, representing more than a three-fold increase since 1993. Some 77.8 percent of Canada’s total merchandise exports were destined to our NAFTA partners in 2016. Total merchandise trade between Canada and the United States more than doubled since 1993, and grew nine-fold between Canada and Mexico.
Canada is the largest merchandise export market for the U.S. and one of the three largest country merchandise export markets for 48 U.S. states. In 2016, the U.S. exported nearly US$266 billion of merchandise to Canada, and for the same year, the United States was the number one destination for Canadian merchandise exports, and was Canada’s largest supplier of merchandise imports. Almost 9 million jobs in the U.S. depend on trade and investment with Canada, while 1.9 million Canadian jobs are related to Canada exports to the U.S. Canada is the main foreign supplier of energy to United States, and was the fifth largest cumulative source of foreign direct investment (FDI) into the United States.
Canada’s trade and investment relationship with Mexico has seen strong growth since the entry into force of NAFTA. Furthermore, Canada receives approximately 20,000 agricultural workers annually under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program, often cited as a model for international labour-mobility arrangements. Mexico’s demographic and economic prospects point toward an even greater growth in commercial exchanges.
The enhanced economic activity and production in the region have contributed to the creation of jobs for Canadians with one in six jobs in Canada related to exports. With the addition of more than 5 million net new jobs since 1993, Canada’s unemployment rate has decreased from 11.4 percent (1993) to 7.0 percent (2015).
NAFTA’s provisions ensure greater certainty and stability for investment decisions and have contributed to enhancing Canada’s attractiveness for foreign investors while providing more opportunities for Canadians to invest in NAFTA partners’ economies. Under NAFTA’s investment-friendly environment, Canada and the U.S. developed one of the world’s largest investment relationships, while the Canada-Mexico relationship increased dramatically since the Agreement entered into force.
North America is home to over 480 million people, and over one quarter of the world’s economic output. Our integration helps maximize our capabilities, making our economies more innovative and competitive, creating a North America where Canadian, American and Mexican companies do more than sell things to each other – now, our companies increasingly make things together.
NAFTA has benefited North American businesses through increased export opportunities resulting from lower tariffs, predictable rules, and reductions in technical barriers to trade. Along with increasing exports and imports, firms have become more specialized and thus more competitive, allowing for them to make things together for customers within and beyond the NAFTA region.