USMCA Signing in Sight, Questions Remain

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The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) is expected to be officially signed Friday, but Mexico first wants the U.S. to lift its metals tariffs, says Jim Wiesemeyer of Pro Farmer.

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) expressed concern that outgoing Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto will refuse to sign USMCA, the replacement accord for NAFTA, unless the U.S. lifts its steel and aluminum tariffs on Mexico first.

“The U.S. was expected to lift metals tariffs on Mexico, keeping them on for Canada, some contacts signal,” Wiesemeyer says.

According to the Associated Press, Carlos Urzua, the man tapped to head Mexico’s finance ministry after Dec. 1, says officials are expected to sign the USMCA at the Group of 20 summit in Argentina this week.

He said the pact would then have to be ratified by the legislatures in all three countries. Urzua will lead the ministry when Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador takes office Saturday.

However, some question remains as Mexico has said it will not remove the barriers it has on U.S. exports until President Trump removes steel and aluminum tariffs, something he did not do even after agreeing to the new USMCA, Wiesemeyer says.

“Any U.S. lifting of metal tariffs on Mexico, and eventually Canada, would be positive news for U.S. ag markets due to those two countries placing countermeasure tariffs on U.S. farm products,” Wiesemeyer says. “Once the U.S. lifts its tariffs, Canada and Mexico are expected to lift their tariffs.”

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