U.S. Statement at the Trade Policy Review of Canada

Trade Policy Review of Canada
Statement as delivered by Ambassador Dennis Shea
Deputy U.S. Trade Representative and U.S. Permanent Representative to the World Trade Organization

Geneva, Switzerland
June 12, 2019

Thank you, Chair Teehankee.  The United States is pleased to welcome Director Kendal Hembroff, and the other members of the Canadian delegation, led here in Geneva by Ambassador Stephen de Boer.  I also want to thank the discussant, Ambassador Gonzalez, for his informative summary.

Canada is a good neighbor and key trading partner, and its trade regime continues to be of keen interest to the United States.  The United States is by far Canada’s number one trading partner, accounting for 75.1 percent of Canada’s merchandise goods exports and over half of its goods imports, as noted in the Secretariat’s report.  Goods and services trade between Canada and the United States totaled $714.1 billion in 2018.

The United States is proud of the longstanding and broad trading relationship between our countries.  The U.S. – Canada Free Trade Agreement entered into force in 1989 and was succeeded by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994.  These agreements have brought the benefits of increased cooperation and decreased barriers to trade to both of our economies over the past 30 years.  However, in more than two decades since its entry into force, the NAFTA had become outdated, had failed to deliver its expected benefits, and was in need of substantial updating.

Since Canada’s last Trade Policy Review, the United States entered into negotiations with Canada and Mexico seeking to modernize and rebalance the NAFTA.  The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), signed on November 30, 2018, is a comprehensive overhaul of the NAFTA and a high-standard trade agreement that will promote fairer and more balanced trade between our countries.  The USMCA modernizes the NAFTA to include 21st century standards in key areas such as digital trade and intellectual property, and it lowers barriers to trade in services. The USMCA is a notable achievement for the United States, Canada, and Mexico, and the United States looks forward to working together on implementing ambitious commitments undertaken in the Agreement.

Here at the WTO, we commend Canada for its constructive efforts—alongside a diverse group of co-sponsors—to advance ourproposal to improve Members’ compliance with their existing notification obligations.

Despite these positive developments, the United States has some specific concerns to raise in this review.

The United States views the enforcement of intellectual property rights as an important tool to foster creative industries, innovation, and entrepreneurship, and to fuel economic growth.  As such, the United States is interested to know more about the ongoing parliamentary review of the Copyright Act and the recent reforms to the Copyright Board.  The United States also will monitor Canada’s implementation of the USMCA’s IP provisions and looks forward to working closely with Canada in the coming year to address priority IP issues.

Additionally, as noted in Canada’s previous Trade Policy Review, trade in agricultural products continues to be an important component of our trading relationship. The United States encourages Canada to review its agricultural policies that impose excessive tariffs and restrict imports of supply-managed dairy, poultry, and egg products.  Reducing barriers to trade would benefit consumers in Canada and help increase the competitiveness of Canadian industries. Further, the United States would also underscore the importance of transparency in dairy pricing policies and any new assistance to dairy farmers and processors, so that Members can be assured of Canada’s compliance with its WTO commitments.

As Canada’s largest trading partner, we share a strong interest in Canada’s growth and prosperity. The United States appreciates the opportunity to engage in this dialogue and looks forward to continued work with Canada, both bilaterally and within the WTO.

Thank you.