A new deal

President Trump officially signs new trade agreement, USMCA, into law.

March-April 2020

Tyson Fisher

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The United States became the second of three countries to ratify the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, after President Donald Trump signed the treaty in January that will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement.

On Jan. 29, President Donald Trump signed the USMCA during a ceremony at the White House. The signing officially ratifies the agreement for the United States. In December, Mexico was the first country to ratify the modified USMCA.

“Today, we are finally ending the NAFTA nightmare and signing into law the brand new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement,” Trump said during the ceremony. “The USMCA is the largest, fairest, most balanced and modern trade agreement ever achieved.”

Trump claims USMCA will add 1.2% to the U.S. gross domestic product and create “countless, new American jobs.” During the State of the Union address, Trump expanded on that claim, stating the trade deal will create nearly 100,000 high-paying American auto jobs and boost exports for American farmers, ranchers and factory workers.

“It will also bring trade with Mexico and Canada to a much higher level, but also to be a much greater degree of fairness and reciprocity,” Trump said during the State of the Union. “We will have that: fairness and reciprocity. And I say that, finally, because it’s been many, many years that we were treated fairly on trade. This is the first major trade deal in many years to earn the strong backing of America’s labor unions.”

Waiting on Canada

Now that Mexico and the U.S. have ratified the agreement, the fate of USMCA hinges on Canada’s government to approve it. Canada began its ratifying process on Jan. 27. As of press time, Canada had not ratified the agreement. USMCA goes into effect 90 days after the last country ratifies the agreement.

“Just as we welcomed the approval of the new North American Free Trade Agreement by the United States and Mexico, we are very pleased to take the next step in Canada’s domestic ratification process so that Canadians can take advantage of the benefits of this agreement,” said Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland.

Victory for truckers

The final text approved by Congress includes several provisions directly related to the trucking industry.

A representative of a U.S. long-haul trucking services industry, the U.S. Trade Representative, a congressional committee or the president can request an investigation. The investigation will determine whether a Mexican carrier is causing material harm to a United States long-haul trucking services industry.

Mexican carriers that have already been granted cross-border authority or have applied for authority are not off the hook. According to USMCA section 327, the U.S. Department of Transportation will compile a survey of those carriers to ensure compliance of the Border Commercial Zones.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association welcomed the passage of USMCA after the Senate voted in favor with an 89-10 vote on Jan. 16.

“The enactment of USMCA is a long-awaited victory for American truckers,” OOIDA President Todd Spencer said in a statement. “For the overwhelming majority of U.S. truckers, NAFTA has not been a benefit. We appreciate the Trump administration and the U.S. Congress for getting this done. We also want to thank OOIDA Board Member Johanne Couture for everything she did to assist with this process over the last couple of years. We’re optimistic Canada will move forward and ratify the agreement as quickly as possible.”

OOIDA had a hand in shaping the bill. During negotiations, the Association has worked with the United States Trade Representative and members of Congress to update NAFTA’s trucking-related provisions “that continue to harm American small-business motor carriers and jeopardize highway safety,” OOIDA stated in a news release. LL

Tyson Fisher

Tyson Fisher joined Land Line Magazine in March 2014. An award-winning journalist and tireless researcher, his news reports, features and blogs bring depth to our editorial content, backed with solid detail. Tyson is a lifelong Kansas Citian.