Canada pushes through speedy approval of USMCA
By: Bill Tomson
Canada’s House of Commons and Senate went into overdrive Friday and rushed through votes to approve implementing legislation for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement before going on recess amid concerns over the spread of the coronavirus.
Canadian lawmakers had originally intended to take longer in deliberations over the renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement, but that was before the House and Senate decided to shut down for five weeks.
The Senate announced that the legislation received “royal assent,” a procedural blessing that caps off approval of the pact that is much anticipated by U.S. farmers and ranchers.
In a statement, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer praised the development.
“Now that the USMCA has been approved by all three countries, an historic new chapter for North American trade has begun,” he said. “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.”
Canada was the final country to approve USMCA, a deal that will be an especially big win for U.S. dairy farmers.
Canada agreed to increase U.S. access to its market through new tariff rate quotas for milk, cheese, cream, skim milk powder, butter, ice cream, whey and other dairy products. Canada also pledged to eliminate its Class 7 dairy pricing system, which U.S. producers say flooded the international market with skim milk powder.
That will translate into an additional $227 million in dairy exports for U.S. producers, according to the International Dairy Foods Association.
Canada also will set up new tariff rate quotas for U.S. poultry and eggs. That will allow the U.S. to export an additional 10 million eggs annually, starting the first year. The poultry TRQ will allow sales of an extra 57,000 tons, but not until six years after USMCA implementation.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador also lauded Canada’s approval of the pact, calling it “good news” in a tweet.