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Trade Agreements - Canada and United States

World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Textiles and Clothing

The World Trade Organization (WTO) came into effect on January 1, 1995. Canada and the other members of the WTO signed an Agreement on Textiles and Clothing (ATC) that eliminated the system of quantitative restraints (quotas) maintained on imports of textiles and clothing from low cost sources over a ten year transition period, starting from the date of implementation. As of January 1, 2005 Canada removed import quotas. For more details on the elimination of quotas see the section, Import Procedures.

Regional/Bilateral Trade Agreements

North America Free Trade Agreement

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is Canada's most important trade agreement, particularly for the apparel industry.  Well over 90 percent of our exports go to the United States, and these exports are governed by the NAFTA - and specifically the Rules of Origin.  The following sections are relevant.  Please note that these re highly technical chapters and exporters are advised to refer to the How to Export section and to CAF US Export Manual for more guidance, and ultimately to work closely with your customs broker or attorney. 

  • Annex 300-B: Textile and Apparel Goods - Contains information on the goods that are covered, tariff elimination, and import and export restrictions.
  • Annex 401: Specific Rules of Origin - Contains rules of origin relating to apparel products.US Customs NAFTA Overview - A publication of the US Customs Service outlining preference rules, country of origin rules, and tariff preference levels.

US Customs publishes a number of guides to the NAFTA  for apparel and textiles.  They can be downloaded here.  

Some of the key publications are:

Other Free Trade Agreements

Canada has had free trade agreements in place with Chile, Israel and Costa Rica for many years, and new agreements with Peru and the European Free Trade Association were added in 2009.  More are being negotiated.  Details and/or status reports on these agreements can be found at the International Trade Canada site.

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