1 July 2022 / 0 min read
The USMCA went into effect on July 1, 2020, two years ago today. The USMCA replaced NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), and like NAFTA, promoted easier trade and economic growth by implementing duty-free trade between the three signatory countries. However, the USMCA introduced new rules when replacing NAFTA and implemented enforcement procedures. NAFTA was enacted in 1994, and by 2020, adjustments were needed.
Keep reading to learn the following:
The USMCA made the agricultural market more accessible between the U.S. and Canada. The intent was to create new market access opportunities for the U.S. exports to Canada of dairy, poultry, and eggs, and in exchange, the U.S. provides new access to dairy, a limited amount of sugar and sugar-containing products, peanuts, and processed peanut products for Canada.
The USMCA increased market access for the following American products:
The U.S. agreed to reciprocate on a ton-for-ton basis for imports of Canadian dairy products. Additionally, Canada is taking measures to control its surplus of skim milk products in foreign markets. This expansion of the agricultural market also applies to poultry and egg products.
While negotiating the agreement, Canada agreed that milk and products used to produce milk alternatives would not be priced lower than a level based on the United States price for nonfat dry milk in order to level the playing field. Canada also agreed to provide a new exclusive tariff-rate quota for the U.S. However, there’s trouble in paradise.
In May 2022 the U.S. challenged Canada’s devotion to the agreement. Canada has not upheld its dairy tariff-rate quota allocation measures, nor its promise to fully allocate its annual dairy tariff-rate quotas. U.S. Ambassador, Katherine Tai said, “We communicated clearly to Canada that its new policies are not consistent with the USMCA and prevent U.S. workers, producers, farmers, and exporters from getting the full benefit of the market access that Canada committed to under the USMCA.” Government officials are working to resolve the dispute.
Notwithstanding this hiccup, the USMCA has opened agricultural trade between Canada and the U.S. in a way unprecedented under NAFTA.
The USMCA implemented more meticulous Rules of Origin (ROO) and stipulations for the Certificate of Origin (COO) to combat the rampant fraud committed by those taking advantage of duty-free privileges in the past. The ROO is used to determine whether a good qualifies as an “originating good” under the USMCA. An originating good or originating material means a good or material that came from one or a combination of the three participating countries.
Qualifying for duty-free treatment under the USMCA is easier than under NAFTA for some products but more rigorous for others. It is important to clearly identify where products are made. Origin labeling is generally as simple as adding “Made in [insert country]” on the product and its packaging.
The ROO takes into account where the product was grown, assembled, or obtained. Only items that meet the ROO will be considered for preferential treatment. If you are involved in obtaining, producing, and/or manufacturing a good being shipped to and from the U.S., Mexico, and/or Canada, then you need to be aware of the ROO. For the full ruling please see the Office of the United States Trade Representative’s chapter concerning Rules of Origin. The ROO most notably impacts agriculture, prescription, and non-prescription drugs, wool and fur products, textiles and apparel, as well as automobiles. The ROO will require more particular labeling and information for these products to determine their origin.
The preferential and duty-free treatment produces a lot of financial benefits, so fraud is an unfortunate side effect. Fraudulent shippers attempt and often succeed in claiming counterfeit ROO/COO benefits. The USMCA has undergone modifications to terminate the days of unwarranted preferential treatment by incorporating:
These are the overarching modifications, but there are more specifics concerning these changes. It is vital that these rules and regulations are easy to enforce and monitor; otherwise, all these changes are for naught.
The U.S. has been adamant about the inclusion of commitments to combat corruption in international trade into its free trade agreements (FTAs) by implementing chapters on transparency and anticorruption into agreements. The USMCA declared its intention to counter and combat corruption amid international trade.
The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) will assess fines and penalties if they determine USMCA compliance issues. If the CBP determines one’s claims of USMCA eligibility are invalid, then this could lead to significant duty charges and possible financial penalties to whoever produces false or unsupported claims. To lower the possibility of invalid USMCA certifications and claims, companies should confirm they possess the essential qualifications for their goods to receive the USMCA’s preferential and duty-free treatment.
The USMCA will remain in place until 2036 but will be re-evaluated in six years. The USMCA intends to continue improving economies, and the agreement will stand as the new model for all future U.S. trade deals. The USMCA aids in eliminating fraud, providing freer trade, and promoting economic growth for all.
I discovered my love for writing when I was just 13. I’m fulfilling my passion for writing at Zonos and expanding my professional and creative writing career amongst the cross-border ecommerce community. I’m working to teach readers in an enticing and educational way about the ecommerce world.