• Allison Baker

FACT CHECK: Is the USMCA a "Brand New Deal"?

Updated: Oct 26, 2018

MISLEADING. According to experts, the tentative new trade agreement is more of a NAFTA "rebrand" than an overhaul.

On Monday, President Trump announced that a tentative new trade agreement had been reached between the United States, Mexico, and Canada after more than a year of negotiations. The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement is meant to "terminate and replace" the twenty-four-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement. NAFTA has been a point of tension between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the US president since 2016; Trump has repeatedly said that NAFTA was "the worse trade deal ever made."

On Monday, Trump said that the USMCA "[is] not NAFTA redone, it's a brand new deal." This statement is misleading. As experts from both Canada and the US have pointed out, the USMCA leaves much of the old agreement intact. Christopher Kukucha, a professor of political science at the University of Lethbridge, told The Walrus that the USMCA "isn't a progressive agreement in terms of changing rules-based language on anything significant. Nor is it profoundly transformative."

Two of the most reported differences between NAFTA and the USMCA are potential changes to regulations in the automotive and the dairy industries. But other regulations and provisions, like Chapter 19, which allows each country to challenge the others' trade restrictions, will remain relatively the same.