Goodbye NAFTA. Hello USMCA.
by Christina Stimpson, director of international trade, Mobile Area Chamber
The Mobile Area Chamber team continues to monitor the ever-evolving trade landscape in the new administration. While attending the National District Export Council Forum in D.C., I had the opportunity to sit in on a panel focused on the newly negotiated United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, USMCA.
Here are a couple key takeaways on “the new NAFTA” from that meeting and other sources I follow:
There’s still a long way to go until USMCA becomes law.
Vox reports that Congress likely won’t even consider the agreement until 2019, and it’s possible that power could shift to the Democrats in one or both chambers after November’s midterm elections. If that happens, Congress might be a little more reluctant to give the president a win by ratifying the deal. Since the approval process will take some time, most of the new USMCA provisions won’t go into effect until 2020.
NAFTA is expected to stay in place until Congress approves USMCA.
Steel & Aluminum tariffs remain in place.
According to a report from POLITICO, prominent business groups and others have expressed disappointment and frustration with the fact that the 25 percent steel and 10 percent aluminum tariffs are still in place on Canada and Mexico despite the completion of the new agreement. And negotiations between Canada and the U.S. to find a way out of the Trump administration’s tariffs on steel and aluminum have been mostly dormant since spring.
Commerce Department spokesman Kevin Manning told the Washington Examiner, “As of October 8th, 39,279 steel and 4,939 aluminum exclusion requests have been filed. Overall, 11,526 steel exclusion decisions have been posted (7,670 were approved), while 805 aluminum decisions have been posted (663 approved).”
There will be winners and there will be losers.
According to Heather Long, an economics correspondent with the Washington Post, there will be clear winners and losers, but a lot of uncertainty for U.S. automakers, “big business” and Mexico.
Here is the full USMCA text.
Here are fact sheets from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative:
- Agriculture: Market Access and Dairy Outcomes of the USMC Agreement
- Modernizing NAFTA into a 21st Century Trade Agreement
- Rebalancing Trade to Support Manufacturing
- Strengthening North American Trade in Agriculture
For more information on this topic and trade tariffs, the Chamber will host a workshop Tuessday, Nov. 13 at The Battle House Hotel, from noon to 2:30 p.m. Learn more about “How Will Tariffs Affect Me?” and register here.
About the Mobile Chamber
The Mobile Chamber is a private business organization with more than 1,700 members and the economic developer for the City of Mobile and Mobile County. The Mobile Chamber’s focus is to provide members with networking, marketing and professional development opportunities, expand jobs in the area, develop the local workforce, advocate legislative priorities and offer resources to help small businesses grow. Additional information is on the Chamber’s website, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.