This country won its biggest trade dispute of modern times, when the United States dropped unjustified tariffs on our aluminum and steel in May 2019, without imposing an export quota. The new NAFTA ensures this victory for thousands of Canadian workers and their families. The Trump administration`s Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has proposed the USMCA, citing new digital trade measures, stronger trade secret protections and adaptations to rules of origin for motor vehicles as some of the benefits of the trade deal.  The USMCA creates a solid foundation for mutually beneficial trade in North America. The USMCA will strengthen the competitiveness of the three trading partners while encouraging the development of North America`s advanced manufacturing sector, which is globally competitive, particularly for North American steel producers. While the USMCA aims to maintain the duty-free market access of the former NAFTA, it contains a number of important updates. In particular, importers, exporters and manufacturers should take note of the differences between the two agreements in order to monitor the impact this may have on their activities. For some doing business in or with the North American region, the changes may not be significant, while for others, they will have a potentially significant impact on their supply chain and market access. This article highlights the significant changes that came into force on July 1, 2020.
On June 1, 2020, the USTR office issued the Uniform Rules, the last hurdle before the agreement was implemented on July 1, 2020. The collective North American steel industry is ready to cooperate with our governments and supply chains to ensure the success of the USMCA and is ready and able to supply North American steel to our customers to meet their needs. In May 2019, independent of USMCA, Canada successfully negotiated the elimination of Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum, of 10% and 25%, respectively, imposed by the United States on Canadian aluminum and steel. However, under the tariff elimination agreement negotiated at the time, the U.S. can trigger a “snap-back” and impose tariffs if “imports of aluminum or steel products over a period of time significantly exceed the volume of historical trade.” At present, this issue remains volatile. Section 34.7 creates a mechanism that requires regular review of the USMCA`s terms. In the absence of control and new authorization by the parties, USMCA automatically terminates after a period of 16 years, hence the term “formal notice.” This automatic expiry is avoided by meetings and negotiations that will begin in the sixth year of the agreement by a joint committee with representatives of each party. .