With regard to services, the Uruguay Round resulted in the conclusion of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), the first multilateral framework to remove existing barriers to trade in services and to prevent new barriers from being erected in the future. Under the Uruguay Round, the first binding agreement on the protection of intellectual property rights (TRIPS) was also negotiated, an essential element of the new knowledge-based global economy. NAFTA contains similar provisions on services and intellectual property and deals with investment protection. In January 1994, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) for Canada, the United States and Mexico came into force, adding to the success of its predecessor, Canada-USA. Free trade agreement came into force in 1989. NAFTA expands the scope of the free trade agreement to include comprehensive provisions on trade in services, intellectual property rights and investment. It is also accompanied by ancillary agreements on work and the environment. However, this guide does not provide legal advice and the applicability of trade rules and related exceptions, exceptions and reservations must be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Municipalities should, if necessary, seek legal advice.

The OBTH agreement establishes non-discrimination obligations with respect to technical rules, standards and compliance assessment procedures. It also requires that these measures, where they exist, be based on international standards and not be prepared, adopted or implemented in such a way as to create unnecessary barriers to international trade. Canada has also long been in practice to conduct federal-provincial territorial consultations on international trade policy and negotiations. Government officials meet quarterly or more often, if necessary, at federal/provincial/territorial trade committee (C-Trade) meetings to review the overall trade agenda and to consult with Canada`s position and strategies in trade negotiations. This open and collaborative approach promotes information exchange and open dialogue to ensure that Canada`s views in areas such as goods, services, investments, procurement and intellectual property are informed by provincial and territorial opinions. Global Affairs Canada consults with provincial and territorial governments in negotiations in territories under their jurisdiction. In addition, federal and provincial ministers from the territory, assistant ministers and senior officials meet regularly to discuss Canada`s trade-friendly plan, priorities and strategies. The GATS expressly applies to all measures taken by WTO members that affect trade in services, with the exception of those under Article I.3 and which “expressly exclude services provided in the exercise of state authority.”

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