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The Renegotiation of NAFTA: The “Most Advanced” Free Trade Agreement?

  • Jean-Michel MarcouxEmail author
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Part of the European Yearbook of International Economic Law book series (EUROYEAR, volume 10)

Abstract

Shortly after the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the US administration depicted the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA) as the “most advanced trade deal in the world”. In order to assess the extent to which USMCA genuinely contributes to advance free trade, this article proposes an analysis that builds on the context in which the renegotiation occurred. In light of the political and legal context underlying the renegotiation process, how can differences between NAFTA and USMCA be explained? The article suggests that, despite some notable exceptions, several changes included in USMCA reflect the landscape in which the renegotiation was held and are hardly reconcilable with the consideration of the agreement as the most advanced trade deal. In order to demonstrate this claim, the article proceeds in two steps. First, it sheds light on the political discourse of the negotiating Parties, ongoing trade disputes and recent free trade agreements that all constitute an integral part of the context in which the negotiations occurred. Second, by focusing on the text of USMCA, it demonstrates that several provisions either reflect a bilateral approach that can potentially restrict trade or partially replicate the language of other free trade agreements.

Notes

Acknowledgements

The author is grateful to the Editors of the European Yearbook of International Economic Law and acknowledges the financial support of the Postdoctoral Fellowship of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.McGill University, Faculty of LawMontrealCanada

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