OTTAWA — After 14 months of hand-wringing, there’s a new North American trade pact. Here’s an early look at some of the winners and losers in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement:


Automakers: A side letter published along with the main text of the agreement leaves out a percentage of eligible auto exports from tariffs — a move viewed as a win for the Canadian auto industry.

Environment: A chapter in the North American Free Trade Agreement allowing companies to sue governments over perceived mistreatment has been scrapped — a move Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says will result in lowered penalties for taxpayers as well as a strengthened ability to protect public health and the environment.

Cultural industries: Rules around copyright and intellectual property are set to change, extending the window after a creator’s death to preserve rights to 70 years from 50.

Online shoppers: Canadian consumers won’t have to fork out duties for online purchases from the U.S. worth up to $150, an increase from the current $20.


Dairy farmers: The dairy industry was quick to criticize the renegotiated USMCA, saying it will limit exports while opening Canada to more American products. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, however, says there will be compensation for dairy farmers.

Steel and aluminum sector: Industry leaders say they are disappointed the trade deal doesn’t include an end to steep U.S. tariffs, adding there will be efforts to resolve the issue in the days leading to the final signing of the agreement.

Drugs: The deal extends patents on biological drugs to 10 years from eight — an additional two years than desired for access to cheaper generic drugs used to treat conditions like Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis.

Jury’s still out

Gender advocates: At the onset of negotiations, Freeland pushed for a chapter in the deal specific to gender rights as part of a broader promise to promote equality but no such chapter made its way into the USMCA. She says, however, there is some “good language” in USMCA around gender.

Indigenous Peoples: Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde lobbied for inclusion of a separate chapter in the renegotiated agreement on Indigenous Peoples but it also fell by the wayside. Still, he sees the USMCA as “the most inclusive international trade agreement for Indigenous peoples to date,” pointing to provisions that protect rights.