Nov. 30, 2018
By Walt Williams
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The leaders of the U.S., Canada and Mexico signed a new trade deal Friday to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, and the reception to the announcement from the association community was largely positive, although some groups expressed concerns.
The new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement leaves in place many NAFTA provisions but also makes significant changes, including new language that automobile workers earn at least $16 an hour before waiving duties on vehicles. President Donald Trump is championing the new agreement but it faces an uncertain future in Congress, which must pass legislation to implement the treaty. Canadian and Mexican lawmakers also have express wariness about the agreement.
Many business groups welcomed USMCA with open arms, but a few expressed concerns or held final judgements until they had a chance to future review the document. The following is a roundup of association statements:
Jay Timmons, CEO, National Association of Manufacturers
“The signing of the USMCA is a landmark milestone for American manufacturing workers. Manufacturers called for a trilateral agreement, and this moves us one step closer to restoring certainty to the North American market, the biggest market for U.S. exports in the world. By securing the relationship with our North American allies, we are also better positioned to demonstrate a strong and united front against China’s unfair trade practices and end the harm they inflict on manufacturers in America.”
Aerospace Industries Association
“Modern, free and fair trade policies are critical to the success of the American aerospace and defense sector. We welcome the President’s signing of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Canada and Mexico are significant trading partners for U.S. aerospace goods and this agreement ensures that our productive, long-term relationships can continue and grow.”
Chris Spear, CEO, American Trucking Associations
“Signing this improved trade agreement will strengthen America’s relationships with our nearest neighbors and put us all in a position to grow the North American economy. That economic growth will be a boon to the American trucking industry—which already moves 82 percent of the freight that crosses the Mexican border and 68 percent that crosses our border with Canada—as well as to consumers in all three countries.”
Michael Dykes, CEO, International Dairy Foods Association
“Although we’re pleased that the three countries have taken the next step in moving the USMCA forward, the agreement is a hollow victory unless the Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum imports are lifted. Mexico’s retaliatory tariffs of 25 percent on American cheeses continue to have a negative impact on dairy exports, and U.S. dairy’s access to the Mexican market remains at serious risk. We’re increasingly concerned that the benefits won’t be realized as long as the tariffs on steel and aluminum imports remain in place.”
Mark MacCarthy, SVP for public policy, Software & Information Industry Association
“The signing of the United States Mexico Canada Agreement is a major step forward in creating an open trading system in data. We are pleased with the agreement’s cross-border data flow obligations, protections for source code/algorithms, and recognition that the APEC Cross-Border Privacy Rules system is a valid facilitator of cross-border data flows, including financial data, while protecting personal information.”
Chip Davis, CEO, Association for Accessible Medicines
“AAM is extremely concerned that the USMCA, if left in its current form, will decrease prescription drug competition, inevitably leading to increased drug prices in the United States. This will harm American patients, job creators, workers and taxpayers. Furthermore, several provisions within the agreement are inconsistent with U.S. law and, if left unchanged, could lead to inappropriate changes in U.S. law or cause the nation to be in violation of the agreement on day one of its enactment.”
BSA | The Software Alliance
“The agreement includes landmark provisions on digital trade that ensure cross-border data flows, restrict data localization, and protect source codes and algorithms, among others. These provisions will drive software innovation across North America and can serve as a jumping off point for future trade agreements, including the United States’ upcoming negotiations with Japan, the European Union, and the United Kingdom.”
“Business Roundtable shares the Administration’s goal of modernizing and strengthening trade with Mexico and Canada in ways that expand economic opportunity, create U.S. jobs and increase the competitiveness of U.S. companies. We will review the final text of USMCA against these objectives.”
Matt Shay, CEO, National Retail Federation
“This new pact takes many important steps toward giving us a modern trade agreement with our two neighboring countries and continues the trilateral framework that protects North American supply chains, supports millions of U.S. jobs and helps retailers provide American families with the products they need at prices they can afford. While there may be disagreements over details, it is critical that Congress approves this agreement in 2019 and that NAFTA remains in place until that can be done.”
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