U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement: What’s next?

  • On January 30, 2019

Although the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement (USMCA) was signed by the leaders of the three countries last fall, the countries must ratify the agreement in their legislatures before it enters into force. In the U.S., Members of Congress must take a “yea or nay” vote on the agreement. This is complicated by the fact that the new House majority was not involved in the negotiation of the agreement and therefore may desire to make changes to the deal.

Another potential cause for delay: the U.S. International Trade Commission is required by law to draft a report on the agreement’s economic impacts by March 15. However, given the recent 35-day government shutdown, it is unlikely the agency will finish its report on time, which could delay a Congressional vote.

Additionally, some U.S. Members of Congress, along with officials in Mexico and Canada, have expressed concerns with ratifying the agreement before the U.S. eliminates the Section 232 tariffs it placed on Mexican and Canadian steel and aluminum exports. Until these factors are resolved, it is unlikely that the votes necessary for the successful ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement can be garnered.