The USMCA establishes the highest level of a U.S. trade agreement for strong and effective protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights. This is a significant enhancement of NAFTA. Nevertheless, in December 2019, following negotiations on the revision of the USMCA text signed in November 2018, substantial changes were made to Chapter 20 of intellectual property. On November 30, 2018, the USMCA was signed as planned by the three parties at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires.   Disputes over labour rights, steel and aluminum prevented ratification of this version of the agreement.   Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lightizer, and Mexican Under-Secretary of State for North America Jesus Seade officially signed a revised agreement on December 10, 2019, ratified by the three countries on March 13, 2020. The agreement between the United States of America, the United States of Mexico and Canada, commonly known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), is a free trade agreement between Canada, Mexico and the United States in lieu of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).    The agreement has been referred to as NAFTA 2.0 or “New ALEFTA, since many nafta provisions have been introduced and its amendments have been found to be largely incremental. On 1 July 2020, the USMCA came into force in all Member States.
In summary, the USMCA contains many provisions that advance public health and FDA regulatory approaches. Now that the agreement has come into effect, we will continue to follow what it means for the FDA, for public health and for our regulated industries. On March 1, 2019, many organizations representing the agricultural sector in the United States announced their support for the USMCA and asked Congress to ratify the agreement. They also called on the Trump administration to continue to support NAFTA until the new trade agreement is ratified.  On March 4, House Ways and Means President Richard Neal predicted a “very hard” path through Congress for the agreement.  Starting March 7, senior White House officials met with members of the Ways and Means House of Representatives, as well as moderate cackles from both parties, such as the Solver Caucus, the Tuesday Group and the Blue Dog Coalition, to seek ratification support.