USMCA is Signed, Ending the ‘NAFTA Nightmare’

The United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade deal was signed by the United States in a ceremony that took place at the White House yesterday. The USMCA replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a nearly 25-year-old trade deal.

While the deal mainly addresses issues in the automobile manufacturing and agriculture industries, it will create stricter regulations on intellectual property and digital trade guidelines. Several organizations in the building sector have expressed their approval of the deal.

The Fenestration and Glazing Industry Alliance (FGIA) U.S. codes and regulatory affairs manager Kathy Krafka Harkema explained how the deal could impact the manufacturing industry as a whole, including the architectural glass industry, by providing greater opportunities for growth.

“The USMCA provides broad protection against trade secret theft, including state-owned enterprises, to help protect the substantial investment in innovation by today’s manufacturers and marketers,” Harkema said. “It allows law enforcement to stop suspected counterfeit or pirated goods entering or exiting a country that’s party to the agreement. And it strengthens copyright and trademark laws to protect the significant investment businesses make in building brands and technology advancements. It also provides consumer privacy protections including limiting unsolicited digital communications. FGIA is optimistic that the new USMCA trade agreement will bolster manufacturing jobs and fuel export market growth in North America.”

The National Association of Home Builders’ chairperson Dean Mon said the USMCA is a victory for the entire American economy and for housing affordability.

“By adding new jobs, boosting wages for American workers and including provisions to lower the costs of materials needed to build and repair homes, this trade pact is a positive step forward to ease America’s housing affordability challenges,” said Mon.

The relationship with surrounding countries Canada and Mexico is a staple of U.S. trade, said Kevin McKenney, director of government affairs for the Window and Door Manufacturers Association.

“Canada and Mexico purchase about 20% of the total value of output from U.S. manufacturers, which is more than the next ten countries combined,” McKenney said. “The USMCA provides stability to those relationships.”

Already approved by both U.S. and Mexican officials, the deal is set to take effect later this year if the Canadian government approves.

According to an article from Reuters, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is urging the country’s parliament to pass the deal quickly, but opposition from the main Conservative party may delay approval until April of this year.

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