WASHINGTON D.C. (WCMH) — The USMCA trade deal between the U.S., Mexico and Canada took effect on July 1, but White House officials and one expert say it’s not much different than the deal it replaced.
President Trump welcomed Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to the White House on Wednesday to celebrate the launch of the U.S., Mexico, Canada trade agreement.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, one of the USMCA’s architects, says the pandemic should not hurt the trade deal’s rollout.
“The USMCA is a long-term agreement its not just for the next few months,” Ross said.
But right now, the Mexican manufacturing sector is only working at about 50 percent because of the coronavirus.
“Obviously at 50 percent nobody makes any money,” Ross said.
Ross added the USMCA’s full benefit might arrive more slowly than expected.
“There is a little bit of a time delay that will occur,” he said.
But some experts, like The R Street Institute trade lawyer Clark Packard, say with or without the pandemic, the USMCA won’t change much for most Americans.
“USMCA looks a lot like it’s predecessor agreement, NAFTA, so I don’t think you’re adding a huge shock to the system right now,” Packard said.
National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien says the pandemic is now playing a major part in the discussions happening today.
The presidents will be talking about coronavirus, how we’re responding to it,” O’Brien said.
He said much of that will focus on the two countries’ economic response.
“We’re also going to be talking about how we get our economies moving post corona,” O’Brien said.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau skipped the event partly because of the pandemic along with continued threats by President Trump to put tariffs on Canadian aluminum.