The negotiations focused “primarily on car exports, tariffs on steel and aluminum, as well as the milk, egg and poultry markets.” A provision “prevents any party from enacting laws that restrict the cross-border flow of data.”  Compared to NAFTA, the USMCA increases environmental and labour standards and encourages domestic production of cars and trucks.  The agreement also provides up-to-date intellectual property protection, gives the U.S. more access to the Canadian milk market, imposes a quota for Canadian and Mexican auto production, and increases the customs limit for Canadians who purchase U.S. products online from $20 to $150.  The full list of differences between USMCA and ALEFTA is listed on the Website of the United States Trade Representative (USTR).  Many analysts explain these different results by the fact that the Mexican economy is “two-speed”, where NAFTA has led the growth of foreign investment, high-tech production and rising wages in the industrial north, while the south, mainly agricultural, has remained disconnected from this new economy. University of Pennsylvania economist Mauro Guillen argued that Mexico`s growing inequality is due to NAFTA workers receiving much higher wages from trade-related activities in the north. 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. Neither the worst fears of Canadian trade opponents – that open trade would erode the country`s manufacturing sector – nor the highest hopes of NAFTA proponents – that this would lead to a rapid increase in productivity – have been realized.
Employment in Canada`s manufacturing sector has remained stable, but the productivity gap between the Canadian and U.S. economies has not been closed: until 2017, Canada`s labour productivity remained at 72% of the U.S. level. Canada ratified the agreement in March and the USMCA came into force on July 1, 2020. Although NAFTA is officially dead, governments and businesses are still adapting to the new rules, especially the new labour rules. Coronavirus can also complicate implementation as manufacturers adapt to new guidelines in the midst of a global economic crisis. Under the agreement, Canada agreed to provide increased access to its dairy market and obtained several concessions in exchange.