The US-Canada-Mexico trade agreement, also known as the USMCA, is a new trade agreement that replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). It was signed by the leaders of the three countries on November 30, 2018, and went into effect on July 1, 2020.
The USMCA is designed to modernize and improve upon NAFTA, which was signed over 25 years ago. It includes new provisions on digital trade, intellectual property protection, and labor and environmental standards.
One of the main changes in the USMCA is the increase in the amount of North American content required for vehicles to qualify for duty-free treatment. Under NAFTA, 62.5% of the content had to be North American; under the USMCA, that percentage has increased to 75%. This is expected to increase the amount of North American parts used in vehicles and encourage more production in the region.
The USMCA also includes new labor standards, including provisions that require Mexico to strengthen its labor laws and allow for independent Mexican labor inspectors to monitor workplaces. These provisions are designed to help level the playing field for American workers and prevent companies from moving jobs to Mexico to take advantage of lower wages and weaker labor standards.
In addition, the USMCA includes new rules on digital trade, including provisions that prohibit data localization, promote cross-border data flows, and protect intellectual property rights. These provisions are designed to promote innovation and growth in the digital economy.
Overall, the USMCA is expected to have a positive impact on the North American economy, particularly in the automotive sector. It is also expected to provide greater certainty and predictability for North American businesses, which should encourage investment and growth.
While the USMCA is not without its critics, particularly on the issue of labor standards, it represents a positive step forward for North American trade relations. As the three countries work together to implement and enforce the agreement, it is likely to become an important pillar of the North American economy for years to come.