Carson’s complete guide to CUSMA and how it differs from NAFTA.

CUSMA, also referred to as USMCA or T-MEC, is a free trade agreement between Canada, the United States, and Mexico that came into effect as of July 1st, 2020. Rather than being viewed as a wholly new agreement, it has been characterized as NAFTA 2.0.

10 Things You Need To Know

We hosted a webinar that goes over all the most important changes that will come into effect with CUSMA.

CUSMA webinar recording

Agreement Timeline


The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) came into force in 1994 with the goal to eliminate barriers to trade and investment between partners of Canada, Mexico and the United States.


This NAFTA revision stemmed from U.S. President Donald Trumps’s 2016 election campaign mission to “tear up NAFTA”, in an effort to reduce the U.S. trade deficit.


After several rounds of negotiations, an agreement was reached in September 2018, and in November 2018 the agreement was signed at the G20 summit by partners.


The new Agreement came into effect on July 1st, 2020.

What has changed from NAFTA?

New Certificate of Origin

A new certificate will be required as of July 1, 2020. Both electronic and digital signatures will be acceptable.

Audits and Claims

Be sure to retain documentation for 6 years. Claims can be made for 4 years from date of import into Canada.

De Minimis

The de minimis threshold has increased to $150 for duties, and $40 for sales tax into Canada. The U.S. rate will remain the same at $800.

Intellectual Property

There is an increase from 8 to 10 years of the time that a pharmaceutical company can maintain a patent on biologics. Copyright terms were also extended from 50 years after the death of an author to 70 years.

Industries Most Affected

Both the auto and agricultural sectors will be most affected by the new Agreement.

Certificate of Origin

Carson Certificate of Origin

CUSMA Uniform Regulations

for Rules of Origin
for Origin Procedures