February 25, 2019
Despite the government shutdown, the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) says it will meet the March 5 deadline for its report to Congress on the economic impact of the new U.S. – Mexico – Canada Agreement (USMCA). Once this report is presented, Congress can vote on the agreement. Canada and Mexico also have to vote to approve the agreement before it is ratified. While the USMCA does not lift tariffs on steel and aluminum imported from Canada and Mexico, there are reports that this topic is still being discussed by the administration.
In late December 2018, NAFEM submitted comments to USITC generally supporting 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.”
To secure congressional approval of the U.S. – Mexico – Canada Agreement, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has joined with other business partners to form the USMCA Coalition. NAFEM member companies are invited to join the coalition to support this objective. NAM also holds regular conference calls to update its members on the USMCA. Information on NAM membership is available here.