Leaders gather in Yuma to discuss the new trade agreement

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement has been under negotiations for more than half a year now and businesses whose livelihoods rely on cross-border trade are urging the countries to pass the updated free trade agreement.

The agreement is important to the United States as well as Mexico and Canada because it is expected to create jobs, pull up the middle class, and grow North American competitiveness.

According to President Donald Trump, the USMCA is “the most important trade deal we’ve ever made” and will transform North America “back into a manufacturing powerhouse.”  

“This agreement lifts up all three countries and continues to promote prosperity, keep costs down, keep wages up and keep jobs growing,” Gavin Nardocchio-Jones, Consul of Economic Policy Relations and Public Affairs at the Consulate General of Canada in Los Angeles, California, said.

As a border state, the USMCA is especially important for Arizona. According to a report released by the Arizona Chamber Foundation, Arizona companies depend on trade policies that provide stability and help open international markets.

In addition, Mexico is the No. 1 trade partner with the United States. Trade between Mexico and the U.S. produced $97.4 billion in imports and exports in January and February alone.

Because of the state’s importance and effort to pass the agreement, representatives from all three countries gathered in Yuma, Arizona to discuss how the USMCA will impact the megaregion.

The USMCA addresses many key issues according to Nardocchio-Jones, Guillermo Malpica Soto – Head of the Trade and NAFTA Office at the Embassy of Mexico in Washington, D.C. (Mexico Ministry of Economy) – and Ana M. Guevara – Deputy Assistant Secretary for U.S. Field Operations at the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration. .

The USMCA is 1,800 pages long, and includes 34 chapters – 12 more than the North American Free Trade Agreement – 18 annexes and 12 side letters.

In one of the chapters, the USMCA addresses issues of transparency.

“This is a chapter that we all agreed on, it was one of the first to be finished,” Nardocchio said.

According to Guevara, the transparency chapter will help reduce cost while also providing greater predictability in cross-border transactions.

“Some of the new provisions are related to transparency, that traders have access to information through internet sites, through publications, through advanced rulings, through administrative guidance, that all of this is much more transparent than out there,” she said.

This chapter will be particularly important for small and medium businesses because it is usually costly and/or difficult to gain access to trade information, this will eliminate that barrier.

One of the biggest issues worrying business owners is a threat to the agriculture industry.

The USMCA will increase access to Canadian poultry, dairy and wine markets as well as Mexican produce.

However, some U.S. Congressional leaders want to include a “seasonal” clause that limits the amount of seasonal produce that is supplied from Mexico, including tomatoes. This would be devastating to state along the border, including Arizona.

I think the agricultural sector is one of these sectors where the three countries have a success story to share,” Malpica Soto said. “There’s an opportunity to negotiate a new Suspension Agreement.”

Representatives from all three countries are hopeful that the USMCA will pass.

I believe the current goal of the government in Canada under Prime Minister Trudeau is to get USMCA passed in Canada before the election would be a big, big win for the country, for his party, and the government,” Nardocchio-Jones said.

“The final text is already in the Senate,” Malpica Soto said. “I don’t see any particular problem.”

“Oh yes,” Guevara said. “They were interesting negotiations [but] in the end, I think we’re all very happy.”

Emily Richardson


  • Emily,
    Thanks for providing this information. I have been searching for updates on the status of this agreement. I have been informing the real estate community regarding the advantages to Arizona with this agreement which is driving the growth and development in the southern parts of the state. Please keep us informed!

    Have the BEST day!

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