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This article argues that federal systems in Canada and the United States allow for the successful pursuit of sub-federal offensive and defensive priorities in the negotiation of international trade agreements. It is also clear, however, that the coercive American intrastate system limits the relevance of American states in this process, especially when compared to Canada’s relatively cooperative interstate model. Canadian provinces and territories also benefit from ideational considerations, including policy expertise and trust-ties with federal negotiators, which further strengthens sub-federal legitimacy and influence in this policy area. This study evaluates the incremental and significant impact of Canadian and American sub-federal governments across a number of sectors on the negotiations and final legal texts of the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement, the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

In: International Negotiation