Companies Urge Canada Domain Name Policy Change in NAFTA Rewrite

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By Alexis Kramer

A trade group representing GoDaddy Operating Co. LLC, Donuts Inc., and other domain name companies wants a renegotiated NAFTA deal to enable U.S. businesses to register a .ca domain name without having to incorporate in Canada.

The Internet Commerce Association (ICA) is asking U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer to advocate for changes to a Canadian domain name policy, which requires that anyone wishing to register a domain name with Canada’s country-code extension be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, corporation, or trademark holder.

The Canadian Internet Registration Authority’s (CIRA) policy has “resulted in a grossly uneven playing field for American e-commerce businesses who want to enter the Canadian market,” the ICA said in a Sept. 11 letter to Lighthizer obtained by Bloomberg BNA. CIRA’s 2017 annual Factbook, to be released in November, finds that 65 percent of Canadians prefer making online purchases from Canadian businesses, CIRA spokeswoman Alison Gareau told Bloomberg BNA Sept. 14.

The .us country-code extension for the U.S. is managed by Neustar Inc., whose policy allows foreign entities to register .us domain names if they have a bona fide presence in the U.S. American businesses should be allowed to register .ca domain names “on equivalent terms,” the ICA said.

U.S. businesses don’t need be incorporated in Mexico to register a domain name with the .mx country-code extension, according to the ICA.

Gareau declined to comment on the ICA letter. A USTR spokesperson declined to comment.

The next negotiating session for the trade deal between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico will begin Sept. 23 in Ottawa.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alexis Kramer in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Keith Perine at

For More Information

Full text of the letter at

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