Time is Ticking on USMCA | Citizens Against Government Waste
The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

Time is Ticking on USMCA

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact blog@cagw.org.


In 1994, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) entered into force, creating a partnership between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico that progressively eliminated tariffs and all duties and quantitative restrictions, except for a limited number of agriculture products, traded with Canada, that were eliminated by 2008.

However, this trade agreement never envisioned the evolution of trade between the three countries that effect intellectual property rights, and digital goods and services.  This is among several reasons that President Trump sought to modernize NAFTA and negotiated with Mexico and Canada for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Free Trade Agreement (USMCA). 

On August 1, 2019, the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste wrote to Congress encouraging House and Senate members to move forward with ratifying the trade agreement.  In part, CCAGW’s letter stated,  

“This trade agreement will modernize trade practices between the U.S., Canada and Mexico.  It will help farmers by expanding market access for American food and agricultural products and increasing exports of dairy products from the U.S.  Auto workers will receive benefits from vehicle and automotive parts production in the U.S. and the promotion of higher wages in auto manufacturing.  The agreement also promotes the use of fibers and other textiles manufactured in the U.S.

“Intellectual property protections are strengthened by the agreement, including a digital trade chapter that will prohibit customs duties and other discriminatory measures from being applied to digital products distributed electronically.   In addition, the agreement will encourage and promote cooperation among the three countries to increase small and medium sized business trade and investment opportunities.

“To ensure that the USMCA will remain viable as time evolves, the agreement must be reviewed and renewed by all participating countries every six years, allowing for future changes to the agreement to adjust to economic and technological factors and ensuring a modern agreement for today and into the future.  While not all the provisions of this agreement are perfect, USMCA is a vast improvement to the existing North American Free Trade Agreement and will encourage future economic growth and cooperation among the three countries in the years to come.” 

Mexico has already ratified the USMCA on June 19, 2019, and Canada is moving forward toward that end as well with a formal introduction to Parliament on May 29, 2019.  Congress should follow suit and ratify the agreement before the end of the year.

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