NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, is a term you’ve probably heard before, but do you know what it is? NAFTA was put in place in 1994 and it had three main goals: reduce trading costs, increase business development, and make North America more competitive in the global marketplace. These three goals ultimately aimed to increase living standards, promote economic growth, and promote opportunities for the people living in North America.

Since 1994 the world has changed quite a bit; the internet is more complex and widely used, Facebook has gone from a website to a conglomerate, and e-commerce is leading sales growth everywhere. World advancements called for updates to be made to NAFTA. In November 2018, at the G20 Leader’s Summit, CUSMA (the Canada US Mexico agreement) replaced NAFTA. It kept key elements of the old agreement but incorporated provisions specific to 21st century trade issues.

Since 1993 trade has more than doubled between Canada and the United States, and increased nine times over between Mexico and Canada. This is great news for people living in North America because the more trade that occurs between these countries, the more economic growth we receive, the more living standards increase and job opportunities grow! CUSMA is a response to this growth. So what did CUSMA change?

One main change that affected Canada in CUSMA is amendments to Canada’s dairy, egg, and poultry industry. The US gained increased market share to this industry and Canada has agreed to involve the US in any planned changes to their dairy policies. There’s now a separate chapter on the environment. Details are minimal but a commitment from each partner country to not overfish has been included. Labor is also addressed in CUSMA, aiming to bring the labor standards of Mexico closer to those of Canada and the United States, focusing on the right to have labor unions and engage in collective bargaining.

As a business we encounter CUSMA frequently as part of the border customs process when selling outside of Canada. The agreement benefits small businesses greatly by reducing fees and duties when importing or exporting from our partner countries. Lower duties and fees at the border mean that we can offer lower prices to our customers!

At Aquassure, our ADL Slide-in Bath is made local in Canada with North American produced parts. As a manufacturer we benefit from lower costs when bringing in materials produced in the United States, and as a cross-border retailer our American customers don’t pay duty on their new accessible tub. Rane Tubs is a US manufacturer and brand out of Sparta, TN, and all their tubs come duty free into Canada. For Ella’s Bubbles products, the tubs are produced in China, but are finished in Chicago. This means that extra fees can and do apply when crossing the border.

So why does this all matter? Simply put, the more money we keep in our communities and countries, the more we can reinvest into neighborhoods. As an individual the best way to make an impact is to buy local or buy North American where possible. Aquassure Accessible Baths and Azimuth Solar Products are both Canadian companies, I suggest starting there.




Posted in News & Announcements.