WASHINGTON — The U.S., Mexico, and Canada signed the recently negotiated United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) on the sidelines of the G-20 summit. The USMCA is the successor to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA); a number of chapters were updated and new trade chapters were added.

Agreement highlights include creating a more level playing field for American workers, including improved rules of origin for automobiles, trucks, other products, and disciplines on currency manipulation; benefiting American farmers, ranchers, and agribusinesses by modernizing and strengthening food and agriculture trade in North America; supporting a 21st Century economy through new protections for U.S. intellectual property, and ensuring opportunities for trade in U.S. services; and new chapters covering digital trade, anticorruption, and good regulatory practices, as well as a chapter devoted to ensuring that small and medium sized enterprises benefit from the agreement.

In particular, AHRI views the update to the Technical Barriers to Trade chapter as particularly favorable, as it now contains the proper definition of an international standard according to the World Trade Organization's (WTO) Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT).

The three parties agreed to sign the USMCA before Dec. 1 so Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto could sign the agreement before he left office. Each party must then ratify the agreement. The U.S. can pass the USMCA into law under Trade Promotion Authority as soon as early 2019, although press reports indicate that Congress will not vote on the USMCA until later in 2019.

AHRI intends to file comments with the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) for its report on the USMCA regarding the impact of the agreement on the U.S. economy by Dec. 20. 

Publication date: 11/30/2018

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