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Background: Developing a model Canadian digital trade agreement

What is digital trade?

Digital trade broadly covers digitally-enabled transactions involving trade in either goods and services that can be digitally or physically delivered to consumers, firms, and governments.

Why is Canada developing a model Canadian digital trade agreement?

A model Canadian digital trade agreement would allow Canada to build upon previous international trade initiatives, including the electronic commerce/digital trade chapters of Canada’s existing free trade agreements, such as the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. Through such an agreement, Canada could address emerging technology issues, as well as promote our interests in inclusive trade. In addition, a model agreement could enable Canada to effectively partner with developing countries, and in turn, address shared interests related to technical assistance and capacity building.

What are the benefits of Canada developing a model digital trade agreement?

Canada’s international trade initiatives in the context of digital trade aim to:

A model agreement would enable Canada to work with a broad range of potential trading partners in order to realize these benefits. Canadian businesses would benefit from greater certainty and predictability, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises who can face costly and administratively burdensome difficulties complying with unclear or unbalanced digital trade rules.

Other countries share Canada’s perspective on the vast economic opportunities associated with the expansion of digital trade and have similarly begun efforts to secure dedicated digital trade agreements. By establishing a model Canadian digital agreement, Canada would be at the forefront of the development of international rules governing digital trade policies.

What are some of the potential issues that could be addressed in the agreement?

The Government of Canada welcomes views on the types of provisions stakeholders would like to see included in a model Canadian digital trade agreement.

The following topics could be covered:

Who are Canada’s prospective partners?

The Government of Canada is seeking the views of Canadians in order to develop a model digital trade agreement that could be adapted to meet our interests with a range of partner economies. The government welcomes the views on priority markets of interest where stakeholders are interested in expanding their online presence.

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