Chairman Neal Welcomes Notification of July 1 Entry into Force for USMCA

Apr 24, 2020
Press Release
SPRINGFIELD, MA – Today, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA) released the following statement after the United States Trade Representative (USTR) notified Congress that it plans to enter the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) into force on July 1, 2020:
“It has been four months since the House passed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) Implementation Act with historic levels of bipartisan support. With the improvements House Democrats negotiated to the USMCA with U.S. Trade Representative Bob Lighthizer, the deal now includes the most robust enforcement mechanisms ever incorporated in a U.S. trade agreement.These mechanisms will strengthen our ability to address some of the greatest challenges that the United States, Canada, and Mexico face together. 
“The COVID-19 crisis has shown how access to health care and affordable medicines can save lives and support economic resilience.  The USMCA that takes effect on July 1 incorporates obligations designed to enable timely access to affordable medicines. It also includes a balanced set of intellectual property obligations that promote innovation, including the research and development of new medical therapies.
“In the midst of this pandemic, North America is struggling to continue the production, supply, and distribution of critical goods.  At the same time, we are striving to protect the health, safety, and other fundamental rights of our workers. Worker protections and tools to respond to any instances of abuse have always been important, and the existence of mechanisms to hold countries and facilities accountable are particularly crucial now, given the pressures and dangers COVID-19 presents. I am proud to say that the USMCA provides these enforcement tools.
“COVID-19 also demonstrates that the gravest threats to our health, safety, and economic well-being can come in the form of natural phenomena that do not respect nations’ borders.  House Democrats fought tirelessly for USMCA to include stronger environmental and conservation standards so that the countries of North America can work collectively to address these types of shared challenges. 
“Congress’s responsibility for the successful implementation and enforcement of USMCA did not end when we passed the agreement’s implementing legislation. It is critical that the United States holds our trading partners accountable for their obligations from day one, and we must also hold ourselves accountable for our obligations. Our progress and success will require extraordinary leadership, especially during these turbulent times.
“I will conduct close oversight of USMCA implementation and enforcement efforts going forward, and I take comfort knowing that there is a new generation of rising House Democratic trade leaders who share my investment in the USMCA’s success and my belief that the deal is the standard upon which future U.S. trade agreements should be built."