On August 31, U.S. President Donald Trump issued a notice of intention to enter into a trade agreement with Mexico – the bilateral “United States-Mexico Trade Agreement.” In the notice the Trump Administration indicated that this agreement, which is set to supersede the U.S.-Mexico commitments under NAFTA and resulted from ongoing NAFTA negotiations, was still open for Canada to join. The notice sets off a 90-day Congressionally mandated window before the President can sign the agreement.
The deal includes significant efforts to address agricultural non-tariff barriers. In addition, it weakens NAFTA dispute settlement provisions and introduces a six-year review process. Other details of the agreement include:
- Zero tariffs on agricultural products traded between the U.S. and Mexico.
- Instead, the U.S. and Mexico agreed to a 16-year lifespan for the agreement, with a review every six years that can extend the pact for 16 years more.
- Eliminating NAFTA’s Chapter 19, a settlement system for anti-dumping disputes.
Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and Canadian trade negotiators remain in Washington to continue bilateral talks with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to explore the possibility of signing on to the agreement. Both the U.S. and Mexico worked to reach this deal by the end of August, giving Trump enough time to notify Congress of the finalized deal and have the deal signed by current Mexican President Nieto before President-elect Lopez Obrador takes office on December 1.