Digital trade chapter summary
Since the original NAFTA came into effect, the expansion of the Internet has had a dramatic effect on our everyday lives. Modern communication tools give even small and medium-sized businesses a global reach. Digital products such as video games, music, and movies can be accessed online, directly by the consumer. Physical goods can be ordered online and couriered to virtually anywhere the buyer requests. The digital economy has transformed the way trade is conducted, and it is important that modern trade agreements reflect this reality.
Through the creation of the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), member countries have agreed to a set of rules that will facilitate economic growth and trade opportunities through the use of the Internet, as well as address potential barriers to digital trade. These rules include, but are not limited to, commitments not to apply customs duties to digital products transmitted electronically, to protect personal information, and to cooperate on important security issues in electronic communications. The CUSMA digital trade chapter ensures that Canadian companies, including small and medium-sized enterprises, will be able to take advantage of expanding online commercial opportunities, while also seeking to continue ensuring an online environment that builds consumer confidence and trust.
Technical summary of negotiated outcomes: Digital trade
- Includes commitments to facilitate the use of digital trade as a means of trade.
- Supports the viability of the digital economy by ensuring that potential impediments to both consumers and businesses embracing this medium of trade are addressed.
- Includes commitments that ensure interactive computer services will not be inappropriately found liable for harms in civil litigation for content published on their platforms. These commitments will not prevent Canada from regulating in the public interest or enforcing any criminal law.
- Ensures that the Parties will not discriminate against or impose custom duties or other charges on online digital products.
- Ensures that Canadian firms can capitalize on the data and digital opportunities both here at home and globally through commitments that protect the free flow of information across borders and minimize data localization requirements, while preserving Canada's right to protect data for compelling public policy purposes.
- Prevents governments in CUSMA countries from demanding access to an enterprise’s proprietary software source code.
- Includes commitments by the Parties to maintain measures to protect users from the unauthorized disclosure of their personal information, online fraudulent and deceptive commercial practices, and spam in order to build trust and confidence to engage in digital trade.
- Seeks to promote access to information and communications technologies for persons with disabilities.
- Does not affect Canada’s right to establish and maintain domestic laws, policies and regulations pertaining to net neutrality.
- Includes commitments to facilitate public access to and use of open government information to support economic and social development, competitiveness, and innovation.
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