Passage of USMCA in 2019 Appears Doubtful

“I’m not even sure if we came to an agreement today that it would be enough time to finish,” said Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in addressing the media on November 22 regarding the looming deadline for the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). With less than 10 days in December where the House of Representatives and the Senate will meet, the odds of the USMCA being signed into law by the end of the year certainly look bleak.

Many industries are expected to be impacted by the USMCA, including pharmaceutical manufacturing, automotive, and dairy. The deal seeks to protect citizens and corporations with stronger intellectual property regulations through things like copyrights and patents, as well as up the de minimis level on goods shipped to Canada to 40 CAD, and duty-free shipments from the U.S. to Canada and the U.S. to Mexico to 150 CAD and 117 USD, respectively.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal says the deal is down to its last few issues. Enforcement continues to be one of the larger matters holding up progress. Pelosi added in her Thursday address that “even if we could agree on the terminology [of the bill], if we don’t agree on enforcement, we still have a problem.”

Once the agreement is passed by both the U.S. House and Senate, Mexico and Canada would each have to agree to all changes before the deal could take effect. Congress has rushed a few last-minute bills through under the current administration, but don’t expect that to be the case with the USMCA since this arrangement could potentially be used as a template for future trade agreements.

Sources: used the video of Nancy Pelosi speaking Senate calendar House of Representatives calendar

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