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Senate to study legislation to implement new North American trade deal

Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade to conduct pre-study on Bill C-4.

Senators agreed to begin studying Bill C-4, legislation to implement the new North American free trade deal, even as it is still before the House of Commons.

The Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade was authorized Thursday to examine the subject matter of the bill.

Known as a pre-study, the procedure allows the subject matter of a bill to be referred to a Senate committee for review before the bill arrives in the Senate – giving Senators the opportunity to get a head-start on examining the principle and policy of the legislation. The bill must still go through three readings in the Senate once it arrives.

The Canada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation Act was introduced in the House of Commons at the end of January, following years of trilateral negotiations, which began last session of Parliament.

The new agreement is a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which came into effect in 1994, creating the largest free trade region in the world.

Canada, the United States and Mexico signed the new trade agreement during the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Buenos Aires in November 2018, and later agreed to an updated version at the end of 2019. Bill C-4 would enable the agreement to be implemented in Canada.

Senator Peter M. Boehm, a former diplomat and senior public servant, is sponsoring the legislation in the Senate.

Senate to study legislation to implement new North American trade deal

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