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New Nafta Agreement Changes

The agreement between the United States of America, the United States of Mexico and Canada[1], commonly known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), is a free trade agreement between Canada, Mexico and the United States in lieu of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). [2] [3] [4] The agreement has been referred to as NAFTA 2.0[5][7][7] or ”New ALEFTA[8][9],[9] since many nafta provisions have been introduced and its amendments have been found to be largely incremental. On 1 July 2020, the USMCA came into force in all Member States. The new agreement provides for greater protection of patents and trademarks in areas such as biotechnology, financial services and domain names, all of which have made significant progress over the past quarter century. It also contains new provisions on the development of digital commerce and investment in innovative products and services. On December 10, 2019, the three countries reached a revised USMCA agreement. On January 29, 2020, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs Chrystia Freeland introduced the USMCA C-4 Transposition Act in the House of Commons[93] and passed the first reading without a registered vote. On February 6, the bill passed second reading in the House of Commons by 275 votes to 28, with the Bloc Québécois voting against and all other parties voting in its favour, and it was referred to the Standing Committee on International Trade. [99] [100] [101] On 27 February 2020, the committee voted to send the bill to Parliament for third reading, without amendments.

The agreement is a good thing for 16 years, but a mandatory ”joint review” will be carried out within the first six years to determine whether the three countries wish to renew the agreement for a further 16 years. It maintains the six-month opt-out agreement that existed before. The negotiations focused ”primarily on car exports, tariffs on steel and aluminum, as well as the milk, egg and poultry markets.” A provision ”prevents any party from enacting laws that restrict the cross-border flow of data.” [11] Compared to NAFTA, the USMCA increases environmental and labour standards and encourages domestic production of cars and trucks. [12] The agreement also provides up-to-date intellectual property protection, gives the U.S. more access to the Canadian milk market, imposes a quota for Canadian and Mexican auto production, and increases the customs limit for Canadians who purchase U.S. products online from $20 to $150. [13] The full list of differences between USMCA and ALEFTA is listed on the Website of the United States Trade Representative (USTR). [14] Canada ratified the agreement in March and the USMCA came into force on July 1, 2020. Although NAFTA is officially dead, governments and businesses are still adapting to the new rules, especially the new labour rules. Coronavirus can also complicate implementation as manufacturers adapt to new guidelines in the midst of a global economic crisis.

The Trump administration`s office proposed the USMCA citing new measures for digital commerce, strengthening the protection of trade secrets and adapting the rules of origin of automobiles among the benefits of the trade agreement. [112] The United States, Mexico and Canada have agreed on the most advanced, comprehensive and highest environmental chapter of a trade agreement. Like the work chapter, the ”Environment” chapter puts all environmental provisions at the heart of the agreement and makes them applicable. On November 30, 2018, the USMCA was signed as planned by the three parties at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires. [58] [59] Disputes over labour rights, steel and aluminum prevented ratification of this version of the agreement. [60] [61] Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lightizer, and Mexican Under-Secretary of State for North America Jesus Seade officially signed a revised agreement on December 10, 2019, ratified by the three countries on March 13, 2020.