U.S. Government Shutdown Pushes Back Potential Ratification of USMCA

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Farmscape for February 5, 2019

Full Interview 9:37 Listen

The Vice-President of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute says the month long U.S. government shutdown has probably pushed back to summer the introduction of U.S. legislation to implement the USMCA. Canadian agriculture continues to wait and hope for final ratification of the United States-Mexico-Canada free trade agreement. Colin Robertson, the Vice-President and a fellow of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute says the United States remains the biggest question mark in terms of ratification.

Clip-Colin Robertson-Canadian Global Affairs Institute:
There’s no doubt that the government shutdown has had an impact because the people that would have been drafting implementing legislation in the United States were either on furlough or if they were at work were probably involved in what is now a fairly tense China-U.S. situation around trade. Our sense is, and we don’t know this, but our sense is that the month long shutdown which put a lot of government workers on furlough from the Commerce Department and some from the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office that that legislation is probably still being drafted. The time table for its introduction was always fairly vague but we were working on the assumption that it would be introduced probably in March or April. I think now we’re looking to later in the summer. Last week senior members of the China, were in Washington with members of the administration but, as the President tweeted in remarks later, it would probably be up to himself and President Xi Jinping to sort out the U.S. China trade dispute which is overshadowing most other issues on the trade file right now and keeping the U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer occupied.
In the meantime, and this is important for listeners to note, the NAFTA remains in effect and so we’re still working under the provisions of the agreement that were signed in 1994.

Robertson says, we might have a better indication of when President Trump will introduce implementing legislation for the USMCA, when he delivers his State of the Union Address.

For Farmscape.Ca, I’m Bruce Cochrane.

       *Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork

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