Free Trade Agreements (FTAs)

Navigating international trade programs with ease

International Free Trade Agreements

Canada has 14 Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with 65 countries. 

A Free Trade Agreement allows you to compete on a more level playing field with businesses in the partner country. It’s important to note that each FTA covers different regulations and contains different provisions, depending on the partner country.

Cole is well-versed in the FTAs with all of Canada’s partner countries—we can help reduce or eliminate duties payable on the goods you import. 

Our comprehensive, full-service approach to all Free Trade Agreements includes:

  • Qualifying your products for specific Free Trade Program(s)
  • Assisting with completing the certificates
  • Ensuring correct application of the Free Trade Agreement
  • Reviewing certificates
  • Managing and maintaining your certificates on an annual basis
  • Soliciting your vendors to request Certificates of Origin and/or to get renewed certificates
  • Identifying potential refunds on qualifying goods
  • Providing full technical support for clients and vendors
  • Providing detailed, customized reports
with 65 Countries

Free Trade in North America

The main Free Trade Agreement Cole works with is the pact between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. 

Following negotiations, Canada, the U.S. and Mexico settled on a deal to rework the 26-year-old NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement).

There are three different names for this single agreement, depending on which country one lives in:

  • In Canada: the Canada-United States-Mexico (CUSMA) Free Trade Agreement
  • In the U.S.: the United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) Free Trade Agreement
  • In Mexico: the Tratado Entre México-Estados Unidos y Canadá (T-MEC)

USMCA/CUSMA Free Trade Agreement went into effect as of July 1, 2020.

Impacts on North American importers

The USMCA/CUSMA features changes in the following key areas:

Dairy: In the new deal, U.S. dairy farmers will be able to sell milk products in Canada duty-free.

Automobiles: In order to qualify for tariff-free imports under the new deal, 75% of any car or truck produced must contain components from North America. By 2023, 40% of a car or truck will have to be made by workers earning at least $16 US per hour. Also, 70% of the steel and aluminum used in the auto sector must be produced in North America. 

Pharmaceuticals: Companies that produce biologic drugs (those derived from living organisms – such as antibodies) will now be granted exclusive access to Canada’s market for 10 years (up from the existing eight). 

Refunds: The new agreement increases the one-year refund window to four years.

Dispute-resolution: NAFTA’s dispute-settlement system – a.k.a. Chapter 19 – remains in place, providing exporters with protection from the unfair application of domestic laws on anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties.

E-commerce: The new deal allows Canadian shoppers to spend more on goods purchased from the U.S. before being hit with duties. 

Other areas of change include digital trade, intellectual property rights, environmental policies, and labor practices.

The uniform regulations, which clarify the rules, including terms and phrases used throughout the agreement, are being determined now in advance of the July 1 launch of the program. 

Our Customs Consultants are ready to support your business with the transition to the new USMCA/CUSMA.