OTTAWA – Small and medium-sized enterprises can breathe a sigh of relief with the progress of NAFTA negotiations. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) welcomes the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) but cautions that the federal government must work to address key issues affecting Canadian businesses as it finalizes the details.
“We are glad to see a new agreement in place and we congratulate Foreign Affairs Minister Freeland and her team on their successful negotiations. Small businesses need stability in international trade so they can plan for growth and the future,” said CFIB President, Dan Kelly. “CFIB is particularly pleased that the new agreement includes a dedicated small business chapter.”
Although the new agreement is a welcome sign of certainty for many businesses, some firms, including small retailers and producers in supply managed industries, have remaining concerns that need to be addressed:
- Affected supply managed sectors will need a detailed transition plan, adequate compensation, and assurance that relief measures will work for smaller producers.
- The new $150 de minimis limit for duty-free online purchases and $40 sales tax exemption may put small Canadian retailers at a competitive disadvantage. CFIB calls on the government to ensure stronger enforcement of the rules by Canada Post and work with smaller retailers on implementing other relief measures.
- CFIB calls for a quick end to steel and aluminum tariffs and all retaliatory measures in light of the new agreement.
“While it is good news for small firms that Canada will have more secure access to its largest trading partner, the past year highlights that we need to continue to diversify our markets and empower small businesses to succeed at home and abroad,” said Corinne Pohlmann, CFIB’s senior vice-president of national affairs. CFIB is monitoring the development of the agreement closely and will release further analysis when more details are available.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members across every sector and region. Learn more at cfib.ca.