Mexico’s new ambassador to the United States recently predicted Mexico could quickly approve the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement that replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Pro Farmer reports the ambassador said, “Our process will be faster than your process,” at a conference of city mayors in Washington, adding “now the USMCA needs to move forward.” The agreement only needs to pass one chamber, the Senate, of Mexico’s legislature. The agreement is also expected to easily gain approval in Canada once considered.
The U.S. timeline, however, is uncertain as the necessary steps to move forward, economic impact reports from the U.S. International Trade Commission, could be delayed by the federal government shutdown. Those are due in March, if the process is to stay on-time. Then, the administration must submit to Congress a draft bill, and ultimately an implementing bill for consideration.
A diverse, ad hoc coalition of more than 45 groups representing many sectors of the U.S. economy joined the National Pork Producers Council in calling for an end to U.S. tariffs on Canadian and Mexican aluminum and steel imports so that America can take advantage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
The Trump administration on June 1, 2018, imposed a 25 percent tariff on steel and a 10 percent duty on aluminum imports from Canada and Mexico. Both countries subsequently retaliated against a host of U.S. products.
In a letter sent today to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, the business and agricultural organizations urged the administration to lift the metals tariffs so that Canada and Mexico will rescind their duties on U.S. goods. The groups want the metals dispute resolved soon so they can turn their undivided attention to generating congressional support for the USMCA, negotiations on which were concluded last fall.
“For many producers,” said the groups in their letter, “the damage from the reciprocal trade actions in the steel and aluminum dispute far outweighs any benefit that may accrue to them from the USMCA. We urge the administration to work with the Canadians and Mexicans on a prompt resolution of the metals issue.”
Said NPPC President Jim Heimerl, a pork producer from Ohio, “The metals tariffs are undermining the ability of the private sector to lobby for passage of the USMCA deal. For many sectors, the duties are a hair-on-fire issue that is draining resources that otherwise would be focused on passage of the USMCA.”