USMCA Crosses Finish Line After Three-Year Marathon

Monday, February 03, 2020

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Some races are marathons, some are sprints. By any measure, the push to get the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) passed — which preserves and strengthens America’s economic ties with its neighbors and top two export markets — was a marathon. 

The USMCA has been three years in the making, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was involved at every step — from the early days when the fate of NAFTA was in question, through eight rounds of negotiations on USMCA, and throughout the process to get the deal passed in the Democratic-controlled House and the Republican-controlled Senate.

The Greater Irvine Chamber also pushed for the passing of the USMCA, joining a coalition of chambers of commerce and business and agriculture organizations from across the United States to urge members of the United States Congress to support the updated trade agreement.

USMCA has the potential to create nearly 600,000 jobs and generate up to $235 billion in economic activity and promises real benefits to American businesses and consumers through updated rules on digital trade, non-tariff barriers, and services. Most importantly, USMCA restores certainty to the vital trade relationships between the three North American countries and eliminates tariffs and tariff threats that have imposed real costs on the U.S. economy and hampered investment.

The modernized agreement will strengthen trade with America’s two largest export markets — by far. And it will protect and grow the ranks of the 12 million American workers whose livelihoods depend on trade with our North American neighbors.

Where does the USMCA go from here? 

With President Trump’s signature on the bill, Canada’s Parliament will need to pass it next — Mexico’s Congress already has — and then the implementation phase will begin. 

Later this month, the U.S. Chamber is taking a high-level business delegation to Ottawa to meet with senior Canadian officials on the first days the Canadian Parliament is reconvening after last fall’s election.

Implementation is a necessary step, but it does carry some challenges. The U.S. Chamber will be very focused on making sure the agreement is implemented in a way that maximizes its benefits for American companies, workers, and farmers. The U.S. Chamber’s U.S.-Mexico CEO Dialogue will meet in Washington in May, bringing together senior officials from both governments. USMCA implementation will top the list of priorities at that meeting.

The big picture 

Finally, it’s important to get the larger picture, larger than even North America. It’s vital to keep in mind what this historic victory signals for the broader U.S. trade agenda across the globe. 

Passage of the USMCA sends a powerful message to the world that America remains open for business. The U.S. Chamber plans to seize this opportunity to build momentum for trade agreements with vital partners in key markets around the world, such as the United Kingdom, the European Union, Japan, Brazil, Turkey, emerging markets in Africa, and the Asia-Pacific, where America must retain and expand its footing.

There have been ups and downs in the U.S. trade agenda over the past several years, but the U.S. is in a good place today, and the future looks even brighter. Some may see growing uncertainty in the world, but over the long run, the goal remains the same. The U.S. Chamber will continue to be a vigorous champion for American leadership in free trade — for the good of the U.S. economy, its businesses, and its workers, and for the stability of the world.

Sources: U.S. Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Department of Commerce

Contributions made by the Greater Irvine Chamber.

Category: International Trade, Economic News, Economic Development