US, Mexico, Canada sign revision to USMCA

Representatives of the governments of the United States, Mexico and Canada have signed a revision to the United States-Mexico-Canada free trade agreement (USMCA) on Tuesday December 10.

Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer attended a ceremony in Mexico City on Tuesday to announce the signing of the revised deal, which will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta).

“Thanks to the steadfast leadership of the president, passage of the USMCA continues to gain momentum as leaders from Canada, Mexico and our own congressional members have all now voiced strong support,” US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in a statement on Tuesday.

The three countries reached an agreement that includes a tightening in rules of origin for steel products in the automotive industry, along with improvements to dispute-settlement mechanisms.

The US’ National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) welcomed the signing of the revised agreement but noted that it should include more rules to protect intellectual property.

“We are extremely disappointed that the agreement missed an opportunity to set the gold standard for the protection of American-made lifesaving innovations and inventions,” the NAM said.

“This has been a long process, and manufacturers will continue to work closely with the [President Donald Trump] administration and both the House and Senate to approve the USMCA by the end of this year,” the association added.

The Mexican steel industry has welcomed the decision to move forward with the agreement.

“We are convinced that the USMCA is an important piece to achieve economic growth with social inclusion and generate quality jobs in Mexico,” Mexican steel association Canacero said.

The revised agreement requires the approval of each country’s legislature. The preliminary agreement had been signed in November 2018.