Posted on December 13, 2020
The “Environment” chapter contains the most comprehensive environmental commitments applicable to a previous U.S. agreement, including obligations to combat trade in wild plants, wood and fish; Strengthen law enforcement networks to curb human trafficking; and address pressing environmental issues, such as air quality and marine waste. In the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Donald Trump`s campaign included a promise to renegotiate or eliminate NAFTA if the renegotiations fail.  After the election, Trump made a series of changes that influenced trade relations with other countries. The exit from the Paris Agreement, the cessation of participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations and the significantly larger increase in tariffs with China were some of the steps he took, which reinforced the fact that he was serious about changing NAFTA.  Much of the debate about the virtues and errors of the USMCA resembles the debate on all free trade agreements (FTAs), such as the nature of free trade agreements as public goods, potential violations of national sovereignty and the role of commercial, labour, environmental and consumer interests in the development of the language of trade agreements. Canada ratified the agreement in March and the USMCA came into force on July 1, 2020. Although NAFTA is officially dead, governments and businesses are still adapting to the new rules, especially the new labour rules. Coronavirus can also complicate implementation as manufacturers adapt to new guidelines in the midst of a global economic crisis. On March 1, 2019, many organizations representing the agricultural sector in the United States announced their support for the USMCA and asked Congress to ratify the agreement. They also called on the Trump administration to continue to support NAFTA until the new trade agreement is ratified.
 On March 4, House Ways and Means President Richard Neal predicted a “very hard” path through Congress for the agreement.  Starting March 7, senior White House officials met with members of the Ways and Means House of Representatives, as well as moderate cackles from both parties, such as the Solver Caucus, the Tuesday Group and the Blue Dog Coalition, to seek ratification support. The Trump administration also withdrew from the threat to withdraw from NAFTA as negotiations with Congress continued.  For the first time in a U.S. trade agreement, this agreement prohibits local data storage requirements in cases where a financial supervisory authority has access to the data it needs to fulfill its regulatory and oversight mission.