The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) will benefit Connecticut’s grocery community by maintaining the overall U.S.-Mexico trading structure, while incorporating new commitments to strengthen U.S. export prospects throughout North America.

The USMCA maintains the basic framework of NAFTA, with several key improvements that reflect the evolution of three-way trade among the participating countries. Just as important is that current supply chains not only remain stable but should be enhanced under the USMCA. The fact is USMCA brings the U.S-Mexico-Canada trade relationship into the 21st century.

The new trade deal, signed by all three countries at the end of November, has yet to be taken up in Congress. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has been engaged in talks with lawmakers to rally support for the USMCA bill, however some Democrats have pushed for a number of amendments to the deal, which would require reopening talks with Mexico and Canada.  Besides their objections to the deal, Democrats are hesitant to give the president a major trade victory leading into the 2020 elections.

At a U.S. Chamber of Commerce event in Washington DC earlier this week, Food Marketing Institute President & CEO Leslie Sarasin, along with 18 other association leaders in the retail, agriculture, automotive and services industries stressed the USMCA’s importance to our nation’s economic future, saying it will provide certainty to businesses, workers and consumers.  In tandem with the event, a coalition of business groups and state chambers of commerce sent a letter to Congress calling for lawmakers to back the U.S.-Mexico-Canada pact.

Mexico ratified the USMCA in June, and approval of the agreement is expected in Canada. Pending ratification by all three countries, the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) remains in place.