The United States, Mexico and Canada signed a deal on 10 December to finalise their new trade agreement, USMCA, after more than two years of negotiations.
USMCA was first signed in 2018 to replace the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA, which erased nearly all tariffs across the region, and which US President Donald Trump called “a disaster”, for redirecting American jobs toward Mexico.
The new deal has stronger environmental and labor standards, improved access for US agricultural goods, and removes the requirement for the countries to provide at least 10 years of exclusivity for biologic drugs, which is beneficial for the pharmaceutical companies.
“For the first time, there truly will be enforceable labor standards,” including inspections of factories, said the president of the main US labor federation.
Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador thanked Trump for his “respectful treatment” during the process.
However, Trump’s impeachment trial is expected to delay Congressional ratification of the trade pact until next year. The final deal must be ratified in all three countries before it can enter into force.