President Trump on Wednesday signed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, a trade deal meant to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement.
“We have replaced a disastrous trade deal,” Trump said at the signing ceremony. “This is something we really put our heart into.”
Both the Senate and House passed the USMCA by wide margins with bipartisan support. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer called the agreement a “bipartisan success,” and said he was “grateful to the leadership of the House” and Democratic and Republican lawmakers for their work.
The USMCA updates certain aspects of NAFTA in light of technological advances made over the past two decades. The new agreement sets parameters for the free exchange of information among North American countries.
The USMCA also updates certain rules on tariffs. Auto manufacturers will be required to produce a greater amount of parts in the U.S., while U.S. farmers will be granted unfettered access to the Canadian market.
The agreement includes new labor laws and enforcement mechanisms, aimed at giving Mexican workers an easier shot at unionizing. These new provisions were instated after complaints by Democrats and manufacturers that Mexican workers’ inability to demand fair pay applied pressure on U.S. jobs.
While Mexico has already approved the USMCA, Canada’s parliament still must ratify the agreement, a process which may extend into April. Once that is complete, the North American countries must carry out steps prescribed by the agreement and verify that those steps have been completed in order for the deal to take effect.