Canadian Magazines Welcome the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement’s Maintenance of a Strong Cultural Exemption

Toronto, ON (October 3, 2018) – On September 30, 2018, the United States, Mexico and Canada announced the completion of negotiations for the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), a new trade agreement that will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Magazines Canada welcomes the announcement that a strong cultural exemption is maintained in the USMCA. A continued cultural exemption provision is crucial in ensuring Canadians have access to quality Canadian content, and essential for the continued sustainability and growth of Canada’s creative industries, of which Canadian magazines are proud to be a part.

“Magazines Canada’s nearly 400 members across the country congratulate Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Minister Chrystia Freeland, Minister Mélanie Joly, Minister Pablo Rodriguez, and the Canadian negotiating team for their successful preservation of the cultural exemption in the USMCA,” said Melanie Rutledge, Magazines Canada’s Executive Director. “We are especially pleased that the cultural exemption applies in both the analogue and digital spaces. This digital inclusion will be critical to Canadian magazines and other cultural industries in the years to come.”

Canadian magazines are an important economic sector that contributes to Canada’s economic competitiveness, and to our social cohesion. Nearly 2,700 business-to-business, consumer and cultural magazines contribute approximately $1.7 billion to Canada’s GDP. Canadian magazines are produced in every province and territory across the country, and are published in 34 different languages, giving Canadians access to Canadian voices, perspectives, news and entertainment.

Also of note: There are comprehensive updates in the USMCA to the chapter on intellectual property, which will see changes to Canada’s general term of copyright protection for works of authorship from “life plus 50 years” to “life plus 70 years.”

The USMCA also includes language on gender and Indigenous peoples’ rights. Gender is addressed in “labour obligations regarding the elimination of employment discrimination based on gender,” as well as in “provisions related to corporate social responsibility and small and medium-sized enterprises.”

There is a general exception related to Indigenous peoples’ rights, and Canada has also retained “policy flexibility to provide preferential treatment to Indigenous peoples and Indigenous-owned businesses, including in the areas of services, investment, government procurement, environment and state-owned enterprises.”

Next Steps

Before USMCA becomes law, consultations will be held with the private sector and there will be a full review and ratification process by each country.

It is expected that Canada, the U.S. and Mexico will sign the agreement by late November, at which point each country will begin their own domestic ratification processes. In Canada, this will require the passing of implementing legislation in the House of Commons, similar to the process for the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with the European Union.

A finalized and ratified agreement will likely occur in 2019.

Read more:

Announcement from the Government of Canada: A new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement

Summary Backgrounder: United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)

Cultural Industries Summary

About Magazines Canada

Magazines Canada is the national association representing the majority of Canadian-owned, Canadian-content consumer, cultural, specialty, professional and business magazines. French and English member titles cover a wide range of interests across multiple platforms, including arts and culture, business and professional, lifestyle and food, news and politics, sports and leisure, women and youth. The association focuses on government affairs, professional development, research, national marketing campaigns, and delivering services that meet the needs of the magazine industry. Visit

For more information:

Brianne DiAngelo
Manager, Communications
Magazines Canada


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