Canada, the United States, and Mexico have each completed the domestic processes necessary to bring the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA, also known as USMCA or New NAFTA) into effect. CUSMA will come into force on July 1, 2020, the first day of the third month after it was ratified by each member country. The United States was the final member country to complete its domestic ratification process, giving notice to Canada and Mexico on April 24, 2020. Canada and Mexico had provided notice on April 2 and 4, 2020, respectively.

Next step: Uniform Regulations

The CUSMA member countries will now develop Uniform Regulations to govern the interpretation of the language of CUSMA. The Uniform Regulations must address the interpretation, application, and administration of the CUSMA Chapters concerning rules of origin (Chapter 4), origin procedures (Chapter 5), textile and apparel goods (Chapter 6), customs administration and trade facilitation (Chapter 7), and any other matters decided by the member countries.

No date has been set for publication of the Uniform Regulations. In accordance with Article 5.16 of CUSMA, the Uniform Regulations must be issued by the date on which CUSMA comes into force: July 1, 2020.

Changes to the Patent Act

Under CUSMA, Canada is obligated to fully implement a patent term restoration (PTR) system no later than January 1, 2025, 4.5 years after CUSMA will enter into force. PTR will allow recovery of time lost due to “unreasonable delays” in the issuance of a patent. Extensions under PTR will be provided in addition to the existing certificate of supplementary protection (CSP) system available for pharmaceutical patents under Canadian law.

As we reported, Canada enacted the Canada-United States-Mexico Implementation Act (CUSMA Implementation Act) on March 13, 2020. The CUSMA Implementation Act does not include any amendments to the Patent Act and future legislation is expected to enact PTR.

The full text of CUSMA is available here.