You may have heard of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between Canada, the United States, and Mexico. NAFTA is considered a traditional “first generation” free trade agreement (FTA) while CETA is a more sophisticated and complicated “second-generation” agreement.
Look at the table below to see how NAFTA compares to CETA:

Came into effect 1 January 1994 21 September 2017 (provisionally)
Trade between partners $1.1 trillion in 2017 $90 billion in 2017
Phasing out of trade barriers Yes, over 15 years Yes, over 7 years
Initial tariff elimination 26% 99%
Nature of agreement Multilateral (between three countries) Bilateral (EU treated as one entity)
Trade in agricultural goods Yes, as a result of side deals between the three parties Yes, included in the original agreement
Rules of origin Favours use of domestic components (domestic content must be 62.5%) Favours use of foreign components (domestic content must be 45%)
FTA beforehand? Yes, between Canada and the United States No
Labour mobility Visas allowed for 64 professions to work in a member country for up to three years Streamlined regulations to allow mobility of professions
Investment Closed dispute settlement mechanism between member countries Transparent dispute settlement mechanism opened to third parties

(Source: Livingston, “Comparing CETA and NAFTA is like Comparing Apples to Oranges”)

Use this table to discuss which is better: the traditional first-generation NAFTA, or complex second-generation CETA.

Click HERE to read about how CETA’s rules on geographical indicators affected a Canadian producer.