Six months after the impeachment-induced slog required to push the revamped trade agreement through Congress, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) goes into effect today.
The USMCA, often referred to as “NAFTA 2.0,” was effectively a software update to the previously operating North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), although it was billed as a total rebuilding of America’s trade arrangement.
Some of the new additions include increased Canadian dairy market access for American farmers, a prohibition on selling knock-offs of another country’s liquor products, duty-free automobile requirements, more rigid patent and trademark protections, and increased intellectual property protections for biologic drugs.
Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX-08) said of the deal, “As the agreement enters into force, the real work now begins. Lawmakers and the Administration must ensure Mexico and Canada live up to their commitments, and we must be ready [to] enforce our rights when they are not.”
“I have no doubt that this Administration will vigorously enforce this gold standard agreement. We are ready to work together with the Administration to develop a plan to use our enforcement tools and the dispute settlement process effectively and strategically to ensure that Americans, and our economy overall, see the full benefit of USMCA’s ambitious obligations,” he continued.
Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28) tweeted, “USMCA will now allow Americans to trade more than $3.8 billion in goods and services with our North American neighbors every day. I will continue to work with my colleagues in Mexico and Canada to ensure that this trade deal will boost the economies of all countries involved.”
Samantha Cotten, spokesperson for Trump Victory, said, “Despite the Democrats’ best attempts to obstruct and resist, President Trump’s America First agenda continues to deliver for Texans everywhere. As the USMCA goes into full effect, Texans know that President Trump and Senator John Cornyn continue to work on their behalf to champion policies that will help them and their families. Promise made, promise kept.”
President Trump made changing NAFTA a central part of his campaign. And the USMCA is one of the biggest policy victories of his tenure, even though it is largely similar to, but still distinct from, its predecessor which he once derided as a “nightmare.”
Editor’s Note: This story was updated to include comments from Ms. Cotten.
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Brad Johnson is an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad watching and quoting Monty Python productions.