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Trade and Indigenous peoples summary

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Agreement fact sheets

One of Canada’s objectives for the Canada-United States-Mexico- Agreement (CUSMA) was to better reflect the interests of Indigenous peoples in international trade. To that end, the Government of Canada undertook extensive engagement with Indigenous leaders and representatives, businesses and policy experts to better understand their trade interests and to seek input on priorities for the negotiations. In particular, an Indigenous Working Group was established to further the dialogue between the government and Indigenous peoples, share ideas and work collaboratively on solutions. The primary outcome of this group’s effort was the development of proposed text on trade and Indigenous peoples.

In CUSMA, Canada was successful in achieving priority outcomes with respect to Indigenous peoples, in line with the government’s efforts to advance Indigenous rights, prosperity and sustainable development in Canada and around the world. Canada’s obligations to Indigenous peoples under the Canadian Constitution cannot be superseded or undermined by commitments under a free trade agreement (FTA). To ensure clarity on that, the government has secured a general exception related to the rights of Indigenous peoples. This exception is a demonstration of the commitment by all three governments to ensure that FTA obligations do not interfere with a country’s legal obligations toward Indigenous peoples.

As in all of Canada’s FTAs, the government has also retained the policy flexibility necessary to provide preferential treatment to Indigenous peoples and Indigenous-owned businesses, including in the areas of services, investment, environment, state-owned enterprises and government procurement. There are also important outcomes that reflect the important role of Indigenous peoples regarding the environment, including in the conservation of biodiversity. The textile and apparel goods chapter also expands on an existing NAFTA provision to provide a special, facilitative pathway to origin for Indigenous textile and apparel goods.

Technical summary of negotiated outcomes: Trade and Indigenous peoples

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