Exceptions and general provisions chapter summary
The exceptions and general provisions chapter sets out commitments made between the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) parties to exclude certain areas from the Agreement or to set out obligations that apply more generally across the agreement. Some of the exceptions are applicable to the entire Agreement while others only apply to certain chapters. Generally, these exceptions are designed to ensure that CUSMA parties maintain the right to take action in the public interest, including with respect to health, the environment and national security. The chapter also sets out where parties may impose measures that would otherwise be inconsistent with obligations, including to pursue certain policy objectives or to protect confidential information.
For Canada, the exceptions to the Agreement preserve key outcomes of the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and the original NAFTA with respect to cultural industries – which preserves Canada’s flexibility to adopt and maintain programs and policies that support the creation, distribution, and development of Canadian artistic expression and content. Additional information on outcomes related to culture are outlined in the fact sheet on culture. Also, for the first time in an FTA, Canada has secured a general exception on Indigenous peoples’ rights, which clearly confirms that Canada’s commitments under CUSMA do not impact its ability to adopt or maintain measures to fulfill its legal obligations to Indigenous peoples. Additional information is available in the fact sheet on Indigenous peoples and trade.
Furthermore, the CUSMA will also, for the first time in an FTA, include cross-cutting provisions on the protection of individuals’ private information, as well as commitments to provide individuals with the opportunity to access government information.
Technical summary of negotiated outcomes: Exceptions and general provisions
- Incorporates, for specific chapters, WTO general exceptions that preserve Canada’s right to adopt public policy measures that are inconsistent with the agreement’s disciplines, but necessary to protect human, animal or plant life or health, or relating to the conservation of exhaustible natural resources.
- Ensures that parties can take necessary measures for the fulfilment of its obligations with respect to the maintenance or restoration of international peace or security, or the protection of its own essential security interests.
- Includes a taxation exception that contains a number of provisions intended to preserve existing taxation practices and secure flexibility in the development of future tax policies.
- Enables governments to undertake temporary safeguard measures in order to address a balance of payments currency crisis.
- Maintains the NAFTA general exception for cultural industries.
- Includes, for the first time in Canada’s FTAs, an exception that provides clarity regarding the Government’s ability to adopt or maintain measures it deems necessary to fulfill its legal obligations to Indigenous peoples.
- Ensures that parties are not required to disclose confidential information, including in cases where it would be contrary to its law or the public interest, or would impede law enforcement.
- Requires parties to adopt and maintain a legal framework that provides for access to government information and the protection of personal information held by private parties.
- Includes special transparency disciplines regarding FTA negotiations with countries determined by one party to be a non-market economy.
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