US, Mexico, Canada Sign New USMCA Deal: What’s Next?
The US, Canada, and Mexico have officially signed the USMCA, a new agreement governing trade between the three countries.
Although agreement on the deal replacing NAFTA was reached back in October, the official signing had to wait 60 days until the US Congress had a chance to review the text.
The November 30th signing, which occurred on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, marks the last day in office of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.
Among other features, the new trade deal provides US farmers with greater access to the Canadian dairy market, and ensures that Canada can continue exporting vehicles and auto-parts to the US.
Although USMCA is now officially signed, the new deal still needs to go through a ratification process in each of the three countries according to their own internal rules.
While Canada and Mexico are expected to ratify the agreement without major problems by early 2019, the process in the US is a different story.
Both parts of the US Congress, the Senate and the House of Representatives, are supposed to vote on the deal. Since following the midterm elections Democrats will take control of the House, a difficult ratification process can be expected.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer promised he’d address legislators’ concerns about the new deal. While the text of the USMCA trade agreement can’t be changed, “we still need to put together an implementing bill so there are things that we can do,” he said at a press conference following the signing ceremony.
According to Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, Congress is very unlikely to vote on ratifying USMCA before the end of this year, since the internal processes of both legislative bodies require more time before an issue like this can be put on the agenda.