2019 Amendments Overview
The Amended Agreements to modernize the CCFTA include a new dedicated trade and gender chapter – a first for Canada – as well as new sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures and technical barriers to trade (TBT) chapters. They also provide improvements to the investment chapter; and make technical amendments to the government procurement chapters.
Creation of a new Trade and Gender Chapter
The trade and gender chapter acknowledges the importance of applying a gender perspective to economic and trade issues in order to ensure that the benefits of free trade are realised in all parts of our societies. In the chapter, both Canada and Chile confirm their commitment to international agreements on gender equality and women’s rights. More significantly, the chapter provides a framework for Parties to cooperate on issues related to trade and gender and commits both sides to the creation of a trade and gender committee that will, among other things, share knowledge and best practices of programs for women entrepreneurs and women led SMEs, and encourage women’s participation in national and international economies. Notably, this new trade and gender chapter acknowledges that trade is not gender neutral and provides the foundation for Canada and Chile to work together on the development of gender-focused indicators and analysis.
Creation of a new Sanitary and Phytosanitary Chapter
The new sanitary and phytosanitary chapter provides scope for better communication and cooperation between Canada and Chile to address issues that may impact trade in agricultural, fish and forestry products while maintaining the rights of parties to take measures necessary for the protection of human, animal or plant life or health. In order to do so, the chapter modernizes the existing bilateral SPS committee previously established by the CCFTA Trade Commission and will strengthen the bilateral institutional framework for addressing and seeking to resolve future SPS related issues and concerns that may have an impact on trade. This chapter is intended to help ensure that market access gains for Canadians agricultural and agri-food, fish, seafood and forestry are not undermined by unnecessary or unjustified SPS-related trade restrictions.
Creation of a new Technical Barriers to Trade Chapter
The modernized technical barriers to trade chapter builds on the World Trade Organization (WTO) TBT Agreement, which ensures that technical regulations, standards, and conformity assessment procedures such as product testing and certification do not create unnecessary obstacles to international trade. It also includes commitments that add to the World Trade Organization (WTO) TBT Agreement in areas such as transparency, conformity assessment and joint cooperation, along with a mechanism to address specific TBT issues should they arise. As well, the chapter includes annexes on icewine and organics. The Icewine Annex requires Chile to ensure that any products labelled as icewine are made exclusively from grapes naturally frozen on the vine. The Annex on organic products will help facilitate trade by, for example, encouraging continued work on the equivalence of organic certification systems, as well as communication and cooperation related to organic products.
Improvements to the existing Investment Chapter
Canada and Chile have updated the investment chapter to include new, inclusive elements. The updates include language that reaffirms a states' right to regulate in the public interest and a new, dedicated article on corporate social responsibility (CSR) that reaffirms the Parties' commitment to globally endorsed CSR standards, such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. The update also includes procedural enhancements to the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism, including with respect to preliminary objections, awarding of costs, ethical considerations, third-partying funding, and transparency. Furthermore, the Parties have added provisions that encourage alternatives to arbitration, such as mediation and consultation. These updates bring the CCFTA into line with some of Canada’s most recent trade agreements, such as the CPTPP, making the chapter more progressive.
Technical Amendments to the Government Procurement Chapter
In this modernization exercise, Canada and Chile made technical amendments to the government procurement chapter in order to allow for reduced time period for submitting tenders, when electronic tendering is used. Electronic tendering includes publishing notices of intended procurement online, making all tender documentation available electronically, and accepting tenders by electronic means. Canadian procuring entities will benefit from this flexibility upon the repeal of the of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), where similar provisions in the government procurement chapter will no longer apply to Canada. The use of electronic tendering will help speed up procurement processes and improve its overall efficiency.
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