Liberals introduce bill to ratify USMCA, as U.S. signs trade deal into law


The Canadian government has introduced legislation to implement the new trade deal between Canada, the United States, and Mexico — the last of the three countries to do so.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland tabled Bill C-4, formally known as An Act to implement the Agreement between Canada, the United States of America and the United Mexican States, for first reading in the House of Commons on Wednesday, January 29th, within hours of U.S. President Donald Trump hosting a ceremony at the White House signing the trade deal, known south of the border as the USMCA, into law.

Mexico was first to pass legislation to ratify the new North American trade agreement.

“Any uncertainty that remains is entirely the choice of Canadians,” noted Freeland, after writing a letter to opposition party leaders urging them to give the bill the green light.

The Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance and its members, including the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association and Grain Growers of Canada, are urging parliamentarians to swiftly approve the legislation in order to maintain access to U.S. and Mexican markets.

“Canadian grain growers — and any Canadian who relies on trade with our closest partners — needs tariff-free access as soon as possible,” says Grain Growers chair Jeff Nielsen, in a statement. “If we don’t join the U.S. and Mexico in ratifying CUSMA (Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement), growth opportunities with our largest trading partners will be stunted.”

While the ratification bill will almost certainly be passed, the timeline for approval under the Liberal minority could potentially extend into March, barring an agreement between parties to fast-track the bill.

After returning to Ottawa following their winter break this week, MPs are scheduled for another break from February 8th to the 17th. Depending on how long the Standing Committee on International Trade takes to review of the bill, the House of Commons may only get to third reading of the bill the week of February 18th, notes Kady O’Malley of iPolitics in her analysis of possible timelines.

It would then have to go through the Senate’s similar approval process before Royal Assent could be granted, finally clearing the way for implementation of the agreement for which negotiations started after the U.S. withdrew from NAFTA in 2017.

RealAg’s Shaun Haney joined Market Day Report on RFD-TV on Wednesday to discuss the ratification of USMCA:

Related: See all of RealAg’s USMCA coverage here

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