By Linda Gerber
On our blogs, we have often featured articles by the former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, the Honorable Antonio Garza. (Ambassador Garza just happens to be at UT Alum and former President of the Texas Exes!) He has repeatedly proved to have important insights and very astute predictions about NAFTA and our trade relationships with Mexico and Canada. Yesterday, Brink, a digital news service, featured Ambassador Garza’s latest view of the status of the “son of NAFTA”, the US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, that is the USMCA.
Motivated by President Trump’s threat to withdraw the U.S. from the NAFTA treaty, the three countries entered into a protracted, and much needed revisit of the NAFTA accord. Late last year the negotiations produced the new agreement which satisfied the administrative branches of all three countries. Nevertheless, as Ambassador Garza points out, we are still far from having an operational treaty. All three countries must ratify the agreement which required affirmative votes by each country’s legislature. Moreover, it appears that both Mexico and Canada will wait to see how the ratification process fares in the U.S., before moving forward with theirs.
Given the contentious state of politics in the U.S., approval is uncertain, and special conditions may be added to the agreement, most notably in the area of environmental and labor protections. These were the same areas of concern encountered during NAFTA’s U.S. ratification process and were resolved by including side agreements to NAFTA that achieved agreement across differing political constituencies.
Naturally, political maneuvering, along with a delay in congressional reporting caused by the government shutdown, suggests this might be a long road to ratification. However, Ambassador Garza points out that President Trump might start the process to end the original NAFTA agreement, and thus create pressure for USMCA ratification.
You can read Ambassador Garza’s full assessment and forecast for USMCA in the Brink article “As USMCA Moves Toward Ratification, Uncertainty Looms”.
Read more posts by Linda Gerber