NAFEM submits comments on USMCA

In late December 2018, NAFEM submitted comments to the U.S. International Trade Commission about the new U.S. – Mexico – Canada Agreement (USMCA). NAFEM generally supports the agreement but commented that “unfortunately, an opportunity was neglected when the U.S. Trade Representative didn’t use the USMCA as a means to end or exempt the Section 232 tariffs covering steel and aluminum imports from Canada and Mexico.” NAFEM added, “Section 232 tariffs have contributed to increased prices, supply shortages and decreased company profits, all leading to the potential to reduce high-quality manufacturing jobs for American workers.”

Some Democrats are pushing to renegotiate the USMCA to address increased enforceability of the labor and environmental provisions. President Trump has threatened to withdraw from the current North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to pressure Congress to accept the USMCA. The U.S. Congress can vote on the USMCA once the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) releases its report examining the impact of the new agreement on the U.S. economy by March 5. However, the government shutdown could delay this deadline.