Trump signs USMCA, ‘ending the NAFTA nightmare’

President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed into law a revamped pact with Mexico and Canada that replaces the 26-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) “overhauls” the rules for trading agriculture, manufacturing and services with Mexico and Canada, Trump said.

“Today we’re finally ending the NAFTA nightmare and signing into law the brand-new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement,” Trump said during a signing ceremony at the White House. 

Trump said the new 2,082-page USMCA trade pact will help boost domestic economic growth and foreign investment and create a generation of “well-paid” jobs in the country.

“After NAFTA’s adoption more than 25 years ago, the United States lost nearly one-fourth of all of its manufacturing jobs, including more than one in five vehicle manufacturing jobs,” Trump said. “Thousands of factories were shutting, millions of manufacturing jobs were destroyed and entire communities were devastated — from Ohio to Pennsylvania, Michigan to Maine and California to North Carolina.”

For the trucking industry, the USMCA caps the number of Mexican-domiciled carriers that can receive U.S. operating authority and continues the prohibition on Mexican-based carriers hauling freight between two points within the U.S.

Mexican carriers that had authority under NAFTA to operate in the U.S. — 41 carriers currently participate in the cross-border trucking program — will continue to be allowed to conduct business as usual.

The USMCA changes rules on the manufacturing and importing of automobiles and creates new policies on labor and environmental standards, intellectual property protections and some digital trade provisions.

Other key components of the new agreement include country of origin rules — automobiles must have 75% of their components manufactured in Mexico, the U.S. or Canada to qualify for zero tariffs.

The USMCA also has new labor provisions, requiring that 40% to 45% of automobile parts be made by workers who earn at least $16 an hour by 2023.

Mexico also agreed to pass new labor laws to give greater protections to workers, including migrants and women. The laws are aimed at making it easier for Mexican workers to unionize, according to the USMCA.

Mexico ratified the USMCA in June and again in December with the new labor laws. 

Mexican President Manuel Obrador recently tweeted, “The forecasts are very good, because this treaty will mean more confidence in Mexico to install more companies, with good salaries and welfare for the country and the people.” 

Canada is the last country remaining to ratify the trade deal.