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US-Mexico Preliminary Agreement in Principle on a New Trade Agreement

Thursday, August 30, 2018

US-Mexico Preliminary Agreement in Principle on a New Trade Agreement

The United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced on Monday August 27, 2018 that the United States and Mexico have reached a preliminary agreement in principle, subject to finalization and implementation.

Three fact sheets are available announcing the provisions.  The first sheet,  Modernizing NAFTA to be a 21st Century Trade Agreement, addresses the following:

  • Intellectual Property
  • Digital Trade
  • De Minimis
  • Financial Services
  • Labor
  • Environment


The second fact sheet, Rebalancing NAFTA to Support Manufacturing addresses:

  • Rules of Origin and Market Access
  • Textiles


The third fact sheet, Strengthening NAFTA for Agriculture maintains among other measures, a duty-free treatment on agricultural products. 


Canada was not part of these negotiations although the Canadian Foreign Minister, Chrystia Freeland arrived in Washington, D.C. to begin discussions with US trade representatives.  It is believed that if NAFTA does terminate, economic relations between the US and Canada would revert to the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement (CUSFTA) implemented on January 1, 1989.  It is to be noted however that a debate exists whether this trade agreement would automatically be in effect if NAFTA is terminated without an act of Congress to re-implement CUSFTA.