Here's Everything Canada Just Gave Up To Trump In The New Trade Deal

This is going to affect you.
Senior Editor
Here's Everything Canada Just Gave Up To Trump In The New Trade Deal

At the last possible moment, representatives from Canada and the United States agreed to a trilateral trade deal with Mexico that, if passed by legislatures in all three countries, will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which has committed the countries to economic cooperation for almost thirty years.

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TL;DR Canada capitulated to Trump administration officials on the issues of copyright, dairy, and steel. Here's how those issues will affect you.

The deal comes after months, even years, of debate, tense negotiaton, and threats.

The deadline imposed by the United States last night was only the latest in a string of pressure tactics meant to force Canada into a disadvantageous deal.

Canada was in an almost impossible situation. Either the government agreed to a new deal on Trump's terms or risked punitive auto tariffs from the Trump administration that could have possibly lead to a recession.

This hastily-established trade deal is now subject to the scrunity of the public and political officials. 

Whether the Canadian parliament and American Congress ratify it remains to be seen. Moreover, just how the agreement will shape U.S.-Canada relations going forward is still uncertain.

What is certain, however, is the framework of the deal itself.

The office of the U.S. trade representative has published the preliminary agreement on its website. In it, we can see on exactly which issues Canada capitulated to Trump administration pressure.

Below are listed the points that Canada seemed to concede. All of them will have major consequences on the Canadian economy and culture.

Internet Rights

One of the biggest issues going into NAFTA renegotiations was internet copyright. The U.S. already enforces what is called a "notice and takedown" system, by which Internet service providers must remove any material that a copyright-holder deems as an infrigement.

Critics long bemoaned the rule for the disadvantage it presents to both entrepreneurs and consumers. Any Internet start-up is subject to the jealous ire of corporate competitors who can use the law to claim copyright violations and shut them down. Consumers also have more difficulty accessing pirated material.

According to Canada's system, by contrast, Internet service providers need only "notice" apparent copyright-infringers without removing their content in what's called a "notice and notice system." This made pirated material more readily available.

The U.S. didn't like that.

While it seems Canada gets to keep its "notice and notice system," the language of the new trade deal seems to leave open the possibility of harsher enforcement and cooperation with unforgiving U.S. officials and corporations.

This is the text of the agreement as it pertains to Internet copyright:

Each country shall provide conditions and "legal incentives for Internet Service Providers to cooperate with copyright owners to deter the unauthorized storage and transmission of copyrighted materials."

Moreover, "these conditions shall include a requirement for Internet Service Providers to expeditiously remove or disable access to material residing on their networks or systems upon obtaining actual knowledge of the copyright infringement."

The new deal also expands copyright to seventy years after an author's death, meaning Canadians will have a lot less access to a huge range of material. Such material is also about to become more expensive.

Security of Canadian Farmers

Dairy farmers in Canada are reportedly livid that the Trudeau government ceded the dairy market to the United States.

Currently, Canada manages its dairy supply to benefit local producers and exclude American competitors.

The Trump administration insisted that any new trade deal would have to give American dairy corporations more access to the Canadian market.

So, according to The Financial Post, the agreement limits Canadian dairy exports and makes room for American dairy imports. This may cut dairy costs in Canada. That's a good thing for consumers, but not so much for farmers.

This could have politicals implications across the country but especially in Quebec, which has more dairy farms than any other Canadian province. The issue could even reignite the sovereignty debate.

Steel and Aluminum Tariffs

The new deal did nothing to address Trump's tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum, according to Global News

Trump even called Canada a "national security threat" for what he perceived as the damaging influx of Canadian metals.

So despite the resolutions the deal brought to multiple other economic disputes, Canada and the United States are poised to continue their spat over metal.

That will undoubtedly continue to hurt Canadian workers. The issue could also further strain relations between the two countries if Trump continues to use it to launch rhetorical attacks against the Canadian government and economy.

Thomas MacDonald
Senior Editor
Thomas is MTL Blog's Senior Editor. He lives in Saint-Henri and loves it so much that he named his cat after it. On weekdays, he's publishing stories, editing and helping to manage MTL Blog's team of amazing writers. His beats include the STM, provincial and municipal politics and Céline Dion. On weekends, you might run into him brunching at Greenspot, walking along the Lachine Canal or walking Henri the cat in Parc Sir-George-Étienne-Cartier.
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