Agreement types

Foreign investment promotion and protection agreements

A Foreign investment promotion and protection agreement (FIPA) is a bilateral agreement designed to protect and promote foreign investment through legally-binding rights and obligations. With some exceptions to protect sensitive policy areas, FIPAs ensure foreign investors are treated just like domestic and other third-party foreign investors. FIPAs prevent governments from seizing investments without providing prompt and adequate compensation. They ensure investors are free to bring their capital and returns home if they wish to do so.

Free trade agreements

Canadian Free trade agreements (FTA) are treaties that open markets to Canadian businesses by reducing trade barriers, such as tariffs, quotas or non-tariff barriers. They create more predictable, fair and transparent conditions for businesses operating within foreign countries. Canada’s FTAs cover substantially all trade between parties to the agreement. Many of Canada’s FTAs also go beyond “traditional” trade issues to cover areas such as services, intellectual property and investment. Some countries use the term economic partnership agreement (EPA) instead of FTA. The two terms, EPA and FTA, mean the same thing.

Mutual recognition agreements/arrangements

Governments use Mutual recognition agreements/arrangements (MRA) to recognize each other's regulatory testing and certification as valid. Agreements are legally binding while arrangements are not.

MRAs simplify trade by allowing governments to accept the results of certifications by foreign regulators. Such certifications may be related to safety or other issues.

Plurilateral agreements

A plurilateral agreement occurs between a limited number of countries with a particular interest in a specific subject.

World Trade Organization agreements

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an international forum that establishes the rules of international trade and allows members to deal with trade issues. WTO agreements are negotiated and accepted by WTO members to help producers of goods and services, exporters and importers operate effectively in the international trading system.

WTO agreements can be multilateral, applying to all WTO members once in force, or plurilateral, applying to a subset of WTO members which have accepted an agreement on a specific subject.

Other agreement types

Canada uses a wide variety of tools, both legally and non-legally binding, to open foreign markets to Canadian businesses and create more predictable, fair and transparent conditions for Canadian businesses while operating within the foreign market. These agreements and arrangements include air transport agreements, frameworks for economic cooperation and trade, memorandums of understanding, trade and economic cooperation arrangements and trade and investment cooperation arrangements.

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