On December 10th top negotiators from the U.S., Mexico, and Canada gathered in Mexico City to sign an agreement making changes to the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)
. The Agreement, if ratified, will update the North American Free Trade Agreement. The changes were the result of negotiations in the U.S. between the Trump Administration and key Democrats in the House of Representatives
and were seen as necessary to win approval from the House Democratic Caucus.
Changes to the environmental provisions of the agreement include a new commitment that all parties adopt, implement, and maintain seven multilateral environment agreements such as CITES, new mechanisms to monitor whether environmental protections are being applied, and enhancements to mechanisms that ensure only legally harvested and taken flora and fauna are traded through Mexico.
The most far-reaching aspect of the changes has to do with a new enforcement regime for labor obligations under the agreement. Dubbed the “Facility-Specific Rapid Response Labor Mechanism,” all manufactured goods and all services traded between the U.S. and Mexico will be subject to facility-based enforcement of labor obligations within a mandated timeframe.
IWPA urges quick passage of the USMCA agreement to provide certainty to North American businesses that rely on regional trade.