The world is drowning in plastic. The sheer volume and variety of plastics on the market, and its persistence in nature, create significant risks for human and animal health and the survival of sensitive ecosystems.

While Canada proposes regulating plastics as a toxic substance under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, and to ban outright the manufacture and import of many single-use plastics by 2021, the U.S.-based plastics industry is saying not so fast — and invoking provisions of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

In late September, a coalition of U.S. industry associations representing chemicals, fossil fuels, food packaging and transportation wrote to Canadian Trade Minister Mary Ng, asserting Canada’s plan to ban certain single-use plastics, set recycled-content requirements for plastic products and packaging, and develop standards for extended producer responsibility violates international trade obligations and the USMCA.