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Changes to Environmental Provisions of the USMCA Trade Agreement

The original text of the United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (“USMCA”) was amended by the Parties to the Agreement to clarify certain commitments made with respect to environmental and trade matters.  These amendments sought to clarify that the Agreements listed below could not be used to impair, modify or reduce the rights of investors and their investments made in accordance with the provisions of USMCA:

  • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES), done at Washington, March 3, 1973.
  • Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, agreed in Montreal, September 16, 1987.
  • Protocol of 1978 Relating to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, done at London, February 17, 1978.
  • Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat, signed at Ramsar, Feb. 2, 1971.
  • Convention on Antarctic Marine Living Resources, formed in Canberra, May 20, 1980.
  • International Whaling Convention, signed in Washington, Dec. 2, 1946.
  • Inter-American Tropical Tuna Convention, signed in Washington, May 31, 1949.

In the event that one of the Parties to the USMCA believes that an investment made by one of its nationals has been impaired, modified or reduced because of one of the above-named Agreements, it must follow the procedures set out in Article 31.4 of the USMCA, which requires the Parties to make an effort to resolve the issues in question.  If the Parties are unable to reach a resolution on their own, the matter will be submitted to a Panel.  The Party which has implemented the measure allegedly impairing, modifying or reducing rights under the USMCA has the burden of proof to demonstrate there is no such effect.