At the opening of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, United States President Donald Trump, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signed a North American trade pact on Friday, which will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), in effect since 1994.
Through the eve of the signing, however, the three countries were still negotiating the 'United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement' (USMCA).
The NAFTA renegotiation became a real possibility when then-presidential candidate Donald Trump affirmed in Sept. 2016 that such agreement had generated huge job losses in the U.S. Once in the White House, Trump declared the beginning of talks to reform the trilateral deal. Eventually, the U.S. president and the president of Mexico announced, in August, that they had already reached an "incredible" trade agreement.
The benefits of the new agreement, however, have been questioned by different social, political and academic groups. One of the main points of concern has to do with the agreement's effects on rural households and small farms.
“Signing of the USMCA is a missed opportunity... [family farm organizations] are continuing to demand a new agreement between the North American nations that respects the concerns of farmers, workers, and the environment,” the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), stated.
In a similar sense, the president of the Canadian National Family Farm Coalition, Jim Goodman, highlighted that “the [USMCA] will ensure corporations profit regardless of the cost to farmers, farm workers, labor, women, minorities and the Indigenous of all three nations. It undermines Canada’s production management policies and seed access in Mexico while promoting low farm prices in the United States.”
Now that it was signed, the USMCA has to be ratified by the legislative bodies of each member country. It should enter in force by January 2020.