Trade pact implementation delayed a month as coronavirus outbreak had just started to surge at end of March.

Jacqui Fatka, Policy editor

April 28, 2020

2 Min Read
US, Canada, Mexico flags
Marc Bruxelle/Getty Images

The Trump Administration notified Congress on Friday that the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) will take effect on July 1, bringing to a close an almost three-year process that President Donald Trump began in rewriting the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The three countries still need to wrap up certain requirements in the next two months, but the move triggers the clock for the deal to enter into effect in July.

Following that notification to Congress, the U.S. became the third country to notify the other parties that it had completed domestic procedures to implement the agreement — the final step necessary for USMCA to enter into force.

The step, however, is opposed by many North American business leaders who sought to delay USMCA implementation because of the economic difficulties arising from the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. The deal originally had been anticipated to take effect by June 1 but was delayed as the COVID-19 outbreak had just started to surge.

USMCA’s entry into force marks the beginning of a historic new chapter for North American trade by supporting more balanced, reciprocal trade, leading to freer markets, fairer trade and robust economic growth in North America, the U.S. Trade Representative's Office said in a statement.

Related:Congress seeks delay on USMCA implementation

The agreement contains significant improvements and modernized approaches to rules of origin, agricultural market access, intellectual property, digital trade, financial services, labor and numerous other sectors. USTR said these enhancements will deliver more jobs, provide stronger labor protections and expand market access, creating new opportunities for American workers, farmers and ranchers.

“The crisis and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates that now, more than ever, the United States should strive to increase manufacturing capacity and investment in North America. The USMCA’s entry into force is a landmark achievement in that effort. Under President Trump’s leadership, USTR will continue working to ensure a smooth implementation of the USMCA so that American workers and businesses can enjoy the benefits of the new agreement,” USTR Ambassador Robert Lighthizer said.

Canada and Mexico are the first- and second-largest export markets for U.S. food and agricultural products, which totaled more than $39.7 billion in 2018. These exports support more than 325,000 American jobs. All food and agricultural products that have zero tariffs under NAFTA will remain at zero tariffs. USMCA is expected to increase agricultural exports from the U.S. by $2 billion and result in an overall increase of $65 billion in gross domestic product.

Related:Canada gives final clearance on USMCA

About the Author(s)

Jacqui Fatka

Policy editor, Farm Futures

Jacqui Fatka grew up on a diversified livestock and grain farm in southwest Iowa and graduated from Iowa State University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications, with a minor in agriculture education, in 2003. She’s been writing for agricultural audiences ever since. In college, she interned with Wallaces Farmer and cultivated her love of ag policy during an internship with the Iowa Pork Producers Association, working in Sen. Chuck Grassley’s Capitol Hill press office. In 2003, she started full time for Farm Progress companies’ state and regional publications as the e-content editor, and became Farm Futures’ policy editor in 2004. A few years later, she began covering grain and biofuels markets for the weekly newspaper Feedstuffs. As the current policy editor for Farm Progress, she covers the ongoing developments in ag policy, trade, regulations and court rulings. Fatka also serves as the interim executive secretary-treasurer for the North American Agricultural Journalists. She lives on a small acreage in central Ohio with her husband and three children.

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