The USMCA: Where Do We Stand?

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Fox Rothschild LLPOn November 30, 2018, the United States, Canada and Mexico took the first steps toward a renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)—now dubbed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). However, the USMCA still faces the hurdles of ratification by the respective governments. In the United States, that means Congressional approval in accordance with the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA).

Pursuant to the TPA timeline, the final text of the USMCA was published and a Statement of Administrative Action was submitted by US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on May 30, thereby permitting the Administration to formally submit the deal to Congress as soon as July 1. Whether or not the deal will be submitted this soon remains to be seen, particularly in light of pushback from Democratic leaders. Once the implementing bill is introduced, the House must vote on the bill within sixty (60) days. If successful before the House, the bill then moves to the Senate where it must be voted on within thirty (30) days.

Now that the Section 232 steel and aluminum tariff issue has been resolved and the threat of additional tariffs on Mexico have been sidelined—at least for the moment—the chances of USMCA’s submission to Congress seems much improved. Nevertheless, House approval of the USMCA in its current form remains a lofty hurdle for the Administration.

The full text of the agreement is available at https://ustr.gov/trade-agreements/free-trade-agreements/united-states-mexico-canada-agreement/agreement-between

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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