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In the past, language in trade deals regarding gender has been mainly political in nature, and thus “probably the first to be dropped” in a tough negotiation, said Maria Panezi, a research fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation. “It’s unfortunate, but it’s true,” she said.

What ultimately ended up in the USMCA deal amounts to a “vague encouragement to be nice,” said Panezi.

Despite disappointment over gender not being the subject of a dedicated chapter, Panezi said the Trudeau government’s commitment to the issue “is definitely genuine,” and lauded the progress made so far. Provisions Canada’s recent free trade deals...

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