From The Archives: On August 16, 2017 the United States, Canada and Mexico began renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with the goal of modernizing the 23-year-old trade pact. Tomorrow, the sixth round of tumultuous renegotiation talks kick off in Montreal. Major progress has yet to be made on substantial issues including antidumping, rules of origin for the auto sector, or the addition of a sunset clause.

Whether Canada, Mexico and the United States will succeed in renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) remains to be seen. What is sure, however, is that NAFTA is now more than 20 years old and, as a result, it would benefit from being modernized to reflect North America’s twenty-first-century economic reality of “making things together.” Relying in several instances on the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union, and the now-suspended Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, this paper proposes changes and additions that should be part of an updated NAFTA. The focus is on the NAFTA elements that have been subject to criticism since the agreement’s entry into force. It offers a fairly detailed road map to the agreement’s modernization. This paper does not, however, provide a chapter-by-chapter, article-by-article review of NAFTA. Regardless of the rhetoric coming from the Trump administration, it is the authors’ view that Canada’s position should be to approach any NAFTA renegotiation from a “best case” perspective in view of making trade and investment in North America easier for business. Only in this way is Canada likely to get the best deal possible for its own economy, as well as for the American and Mexican economies.

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CIGI Papers present in-depth analysis and discussion on governance-related subjects. They include policy papers that present CIGI experts' positions or contributions to policy debates, and background papers that contain research findings, insights and data that contribute to the development of policy positions.