Representatives from Canada, Mexico, and the US discussed progress on the implementation of the US – Mexico – Canada Agreement (‘USMCA’ in the US, ‘CUSMA’ in Canada, and ‘T-MEC’ in Mexico), which entered into force on 1 July 2020. Meeting for the first time, the USMCA Free Trade Commission (FTC) took up trilateral trade issues that included the resilience of integrated supply chains, promoting strong labor standards, taking action to end forced labor, and advancing environmental priorities, as well as mitigating the economic effects of climate change.

Mary Ng, Canada’s Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, Tatiana Clouthier Carrillo, Mexico’s Secretary of Economy, and Katherine Tai, US Trade Representative, convened from 17-18 May 2021 in a virtual meeting, hosted by the US.

In a joint statement, Ng, Tai, and Clouthier highlight the three countries’ “longstanding shared history built on mutual respect and cooperation.” “Through our people-to-people and business-to-business ties, […] together our three nations have one of the strongest relationships in the world,” said Ng.

The parties recognize trade policies should “foster broad-based and equitable growth, spur innovation, protect our shared environment, and have a positive impact on people from all walks of life.”

On labor, the statement notes that the parties discussed their shared obligation to ensure the Agreement’s prohibition of the importation of goods produced by forced labor, and recommitted to working to promote a fair, rules-based international trading system where products made with forced labor do not enter the trading system.

On the environment, the parties recognize that a healthy environment is an integral element of sustainable development. They commit to increase law enforcement cooperation, in particular in the areas of wildlife trafficking and illegal logging and associated trade. In her speech, Tai said North America should also lead in the collective fight against climate change, with the USMCA serving as a “platform for future cooperation and prosperity.”

Bilaterally, Ng and Tai raised their shared commitment to implementing the Roadmap for a Renewed US-Canada Partnership, and to working together to strengthen supply chains between Canada and the US. Ng and Clouthier discussed their shared commitment to inclusive trade, and to ensure prosperity for workers and businesses in Canada and Mexico. Tai and Clouthier discussed the importance of fully implementing the USMCA, including its strengthened environment obligations.

Looking ahead, the USMCA Committee on Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) Issues will convene the first SME Dialogue from 13-14 October, in San Antonio, Texas, US, where governments will engage with small business stakeholders, including those owned by women, indigenous peoples, and other underrepresented groups who were disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, to help ensure “everyone is included in, and can benefit from, the Agreement.” [Government of Canada Press Release] [Government of Mexico Release] [Office of the US Trade Representative Press Release]