OTTAWA, CANADA – Last Friday, prior to Canada’s Parliament heading into a five-week recess amid fears of the spreading COVID-19, both the Canadian House of Commons and the Canadian Senate quickly passed legislation to ratify the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade pact. Following parliament’s approval, the agreement also received “royal assent” from Queen Elizabeth II’s government representative, completing the necessary step before implementation can happen later this year.
The U.S. Congress passed the implementing legislation that ratified the pact in December and January, Mexico passed their ratifying legislation in early 2019, and now Canada has “sealed the deal.”
While U.S. rice does not stand to gain through the revamped North American Free Trade Agreement, USMCA does offer long-term certainty for U.S. businesses with Mexico and Canada, two of our most important export markets.
U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Robert Lighthizer said in a statement on Friday that, “USMCA is the gold standard by which all future trade agreements will be judged, and citizens of all three countries will benefit for years to come.”
“While NAFTA has certainly been a boon for the U.S. rice industry, making Mexico our top export market and placing Canada in the top five, this renegotiation allows our industry to continue to maintain those great relationships with our partners to the North and South,” said USA Rice President & CEO Betsy Ward. “It is reassuring to see USMCA ratified across the board now so that the Administration can turn their attention toward other trade deals later this year.”
The three countries, pending potential lingering effects from the coronavirus outbreak, are looking to have the pact go into force this summer.