U.S. and Canada Reach Deal to Rehaul NAFTA
WASHINGTON, D.C. and OTTAWA, CA - Canada has agreed to enter into a trade agreement with the United States and Mexico—replacing the existing NAFTA framework with a modernized trade agreement. After a bilateral agreement between the United States and Mexico was announced this August, a month of negotiation between the U.S. and our neighbor to the North—and the ensuing speculation—has culminated in the announcement of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
“Today, Canada and the United States reached an agreement, alongside Mexico, on a new, modernized trade agreement for the 21st Century: the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA),” said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland in a joint statement. “USMCA will give our workers, farmers, ranchers and businesses a high-standard trade agreement that will result in freer markets, fairer trade, and robust economic growth in our region.”
According to USA Today, the U.S. had imposed a deadline of midnight Sunday, September 30, 2018, to reach a three-country deal. Under the terms of the 11th hour agreement, the U.S. will have greater access to Canada’s dairy market—a source of concern in the month leading up to the agreement.
In a statement, the United Fresh Produce Association said that it is encouraged by the news that a revised trilateral agreement has been reached between the United States, Mexico, and Canada.
"The strong relationships our members have established between these three countries have helped enable the growth of the fresh produce industry over the last quarter century," the association said in a release. "Coming on the heels of United Fresh’s annual Washington Conference and the inaugural Global Trade Forum in which this issue was front and center and where attendees heard directly from key U.S. negotiators, the announcement of this revised agreement highlights the importance of our continued engagement on key policy issues by those in the produce industry. United Fresh looks forward to working with Congress to achieve the swift approval of this new agreement."
The Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA) likewise issued a statement commending the agreement.
“CPMA has been active over the past 13 months to promote the ongoing free trading environment for our industry within North America,” said Les Mallard, CPMA Chair. “We are greatly appreciative of the hard work by Canadian negotiators to finalize the deal in a way that is not harmful to our sector.”
CPMA noted that it will be reviewing the details of the agreement, particularly those chapters related to sanitary and phytosanitary issues, dispute resolution, trade remedies, good regulatory practices, and competitiveness.
“CPMA looks forward to continued collaboration with Ministers Freeland and MacAulay on other key
areas of trade which are focused on diversification and growth within the fresh produce industry,” added Ron Lemaire, CPMA President.
The Wall Street Journal noted that the accord comes just four days after trade representatives from the Trump administration told Congress that the Sunday deadline appeared infeasible.
Officials from the U.S. and Canada worked throughout “a frenetic Sunday,” said the New York Times. Canadian officials reportedly teleconferenced throughout the day with their American counterparts. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau convened a special cabinet meeting just hours before the end-of-day deadline—with Mexico’s Under Secretary of Foreign Trade presenting the agreement to the Senate of the Republic of Mexico just before midnight.
“It’s a good day for Canada,” Trudeau told reporters, according to the WSJ.
Details of the trade agreement are forthcoming. The pending USMCA is expected to be signed into law in late November.