Canadian lawmakers approve USMCA as coronavirus crisis deepens

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau working from home

Canadian lawmakers approved the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) on Friday, helping ensure that predictability can return to North American supply chains once the dust settles from the coronavirus pandemic.

Members of the House of Commons and the Senate voted unanimously to approve the trade agreement before suspending sessions because of the coronavirus.

“It brings certainty to the trade community and the trucking industry,” Steve Laskowski, president of the Canadian Trucking Alliance, told FreightWaves.

USMCA isn’t expected to bring significant changes to Canada’s trucking industry. The Canadian Trucking Alliance plans to closely examine the final text of the agreement and its annexes.

The news came as almost a footnote as Canada grappled with the growing crisis of coronavirus. On Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — self-quarantined with his wife, who has the virus — said the government was considering tightening border controls as it urged Canadians to avoid nonessential travel.

The implications, if any, for cross-border trucking remain unclear.

But Laskowski, whose organization represents carriers across the country, urged caution for any potential restrictions that would create barriers for healthy truckers to cross the border.

“It’s not workable for the economy. The economy moves by truck,” Laskowski said. “Thousands of trucks cross the border each day.”