Trade relationship tested after USMCA goes into effect during pandemic

Washington DC

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) — COVID has impacted just about every corner of the global economy.

As the U.S. enters into a new trade agreement with Canada and Mexico — all three nations may have to make adjustments. 

The new U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement took effect on Wednesday — in a much different global economy than when it was negotiated. 

“This pandemic is definitely going to impact how it’s implemented,” Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-Calif., said.

Democrat Jimmy Gomez says the USMCA replacing NAFTA raises standards and pay for Mexican workers to help American companies compete. 

But he says as whole, industries suffer amid the pandemic — those standards may be tougher to meet. 

“We’re going to be pushing forward to make sure Mexico as well as the United States, and companies on both sides of the border live up to this new agreement,” Rep. Gomez said.

“California can export to Canada for essentially the first time,” Rep. Josh Harder, D-Calif., said.

Congressman Josh Harder says USMCA gives dairy farmers in his Central Valley district new markets to sell to. 

But he says they’ll have to overcome the pandemic first. 

“Those problems are not over,” Rep. Harder said. “We’ve seen the price of milk go down 40 percent over the last couple months.”

And Republican leaders say despite the economic hardship in the short term, USMCA will create jobs in the U.S. in the long term.

“Four point eight million jobs we just announced today for last month, I think this is going to enhance it, even more jobs,” Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said.

House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy says the U.S. has worked well with Canada and Mexico on COVID safety measures. He says that’s a good sign trade cooperation will follow. 

“We’ll be able to have the commerce as we’ve been able to work through the entire time,” Rep. McCarthy said.

All three nations ratified the agreement — and are now working in implement the required changes. 

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