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  • Writer's pictureThe Moot Times UCalgary Law

It’s Fun to Live Under the U.S.M.C.A.

Folks, it is here. After countless weeks of negotiating, spitting vitriol, and two allies coming to verbal blows like thundering artillery we have our new free trade agreement. The United-States-Mexico-Canada-Agreement, doesn’t that just roll off the tongue?

So what has changed? Let’s take a brief walk down free trade agreement road:

For the most part not a lot. The bulk of the #USMCA looks nearly identical to the old #NAFTA with some small if significant changes. At the top of the list for Canadian concessions were changes to copyright extensions and the expansion of exclusivity for brand name prescription drugs. Canada will now bring their copyright extensions in line with the EU/US to 70 years after a creator’s death. As for prescription drugs, brand name drug companies will get an additional 2 years of exclusivity for a total of 10 before generic drugs can compete with the product. Now, according to our friends at the CBC, this will mean increased drug costs for Canadian consumers. There I thought they were already so affordable (did you get through that line with a straight face?).

Perhaps the funniest part of the new agreement is the “Buy American” provisions remaining. After President Angry Cheeto spent the last 6 months going on about free and open trade agreements that benefit both parties equally, the Americans have denied their state and federal departments the right to procurement from Canadian or Mexican sources. Alas, those steel workers in Michigan are likely waving to ours in Windsor with a wry grin right now.

Now, fret not comrades, we have retained supply management in this our northern commune. In what likely made Maxime Bernier’s middle forehead vein pop, our protectionist sectors have remained ensuring the price of milk is still ungodly. But, for those on the blue side of the isle, we shall be allowing additional egg imports with market access opening 1% per year to the Americans for 10 years.

In what I have come to label Freeland’s folly, Canadians will not be seeing an expansion to our US visas. As was much publicised, the foreign minister made it one of her top goals to ensure that unlisted and new professions had access to the US market and increased ability to work cross border. This was met with a healthy dose of HELL NAW from our neighbours down south.

"We are allowing the Americans to dictate our foreign policy and ability to establish economic relations in a changing geo-political atmosphere."

But what did we win on? The #CRTC made sure that you will be trapped watching CANCON for at least a generation. So if you were hoping to not have to set up a laptop for your middle aged dad for Superbowl commercials, alas you shall be doing the bend and plug once more.

Prince Charming and his band of merry negotiators held the Americans at bay but in the process made sacrifices to retain an agreement for the mere sake of retaining it when the Americans shot down any hope of allowing his social agenda. Most concerning, the Prime Minister allowed a provision restricting the ability of member countries to make free trade agreements with “non-market countries” without prior consent of the other members. But let’s have some real talk. We are allowing the Americans to dictate our foreign policy and ability to establish economic relations in a changing geo-political atmosphere. Pretty sure that’s called a protectorate.

Written By: Joey Bogle

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