Introduction

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA or Agreement) entered into force among the three countries on July 1, 2020, twenty-five years after the North American Free Trade Agreement of 1994 (NAFTA) came into being. The USMCA is designed to modernize the prior trade agreement in keeping with constantly evolving social and commercial conditions.

 

The trade relationship between Mexico and the United States is of paramount importance to the economies of each country. Historically, the U.S. has been Mexico’s top trading partner.  In 2019, the sum of Mexico-U.S. imports and exports exceeded $600 billion dollars according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, and in that same year Mexico surpassed China’s trade with the United States.

 

Considering the economic and historic relevance of the USMCA, CCN has prepared the CCN Guide to the USMCA (USMCA Guide), which was written by a team of specialized international attorneys with experience in the complex and interconnected North American market.

 

CCN’s USMCA Guide includes summaries of several key chapters of the new treaty, highlighting the most relevant aspects of the Agreement, including key aspects that will facilitate the commercial relationships and coordination among the Parties and ideally ensure enhanced commercial financial certainty for international businesses.

 

The USMCA Guide identifies the most relevant changes in the USMCA as compared to NAFTA. Differences between the two can be significant.  Some areas have more differences than others.  However, such differences must be carefully considered when planning a cross-border transaction or investment. Differences between the two treaties can be found in the areas of digital trade and financial services, agriculture, environmental matters, labor, intellectual property, and the protection of trade secrets, among others. The USMCA institutes recognized international trade and investment principles and mechanisms for dispute resolution to encourage increased business among nationals of each country, and to provide all parties to the Agreement with enhanced confidence in the legal system.

 

The USMCA Guide is formatted to facilitate better understanding and use of its contents. The Guide is divided into chapters organized in the same order as they appear in the Agreement.  Each chapter contains a brief introduction, an executive summary, a legal discussion and a conclusion. We hope the USMCA Guide is helpful to CCN’s clients and friends as they adapt their businesses and investments to the terms of a new trade agreement and an era of increased competition and more rapid evolution.

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This publication is intended to provide general information regarding the subject matter covered in this legal guide. It is provided with the understanding that Cacheaux, Cavazos & Newton, L.L.P. has not been engaged to render legal services to any person in any specific case. If legal advice is required, an attorney with Cacheaux, Cavazos & Newton, L.L.P. should be formally retained so that advice relevant to such a specific case may be provided. The above disclaimer was adapted from a declaration of principles jointly adopted by the committee of the American Bar Association and a committee of publishers and associations.