Revised NAFTA Will Not Take Effect On June 1, As Trump Had Hoped


By Pacific Customs Brokers, Pacific Customs Brokers 2020-04-02

COVID-19 is one of several complications delaying the implementation of the revised North American trade agreement beyond June 1 — when the Trump administration wanted the new deal to take effect.

In order to proceed on the White House's preferred timeline, all three partners needed to notify each other by March 31 that they had finished their respective ratification processes and were ready to comply with the new agreement.

The text of the Canada–U.S.–Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) says it will take effect on the first day of the third month after the final country gives this notice.

Canada rushed through a deal to pass its implementation legislation on March 13, as Parliament suspended amid fears that it was no longer safe for the full House of Commons and Senate to meet during the pandemic.

While that legislation was an important step toward making the necessary changes to laws and regulations, Canada's Parliament does not ratify trade treaties. That's up to the executive branch — the federal cabinet.

Although Justin Trudeau's ministers met on Tuesday morning, they have yet to give this notice they're ready to proceed...

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CUSMA Implementation Date

The CSCB has contacted Global Affairs Canada (GAC) regarding possible postponement of CUSMA implementation. They have advised that the entry into force provisions remain, and that Canada remains committed to completing the steps necessary to bring the agreement into force. Once a firm date for implementation is available, we will advise members accordingly.

The message from GAC is reproduced below.

  • The U.S. has raised its interest in pursuing the rapid implementation of the new NAFTA; Canada is committed to working with our NAFTA partners towards a timely and effective transition to CUSMA.
  • Importantly, Canada is working to complete the steps necessary in order to be in a position to bring the agreement into force; at the same time, the parties are advancing trilateral work that needs to be completed before entry into force, in particular related to the uniform regulations for the rules of origin and dispute settlement procedures.
  • Under the terms of the agreement, entry into force takes place on the first day of the third month after the last notification from a Party of the completion of its domestic procedures.
  • In order for the entry into to force provisions to be modified, the treaty would need to be amended.

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