USTR Lighthizer

How much of the USMCA is from the TPP?

57% of the USMCA text is copied from the TPP.

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) provided the first opportunity for the Trump administration to translate its “America First” trade policy into specific treaty design. In this article, we evaluate how radical these changes have been by systematically comparing the USMCA to its predecessors. We find that, first, the USMCA copies 57 percent of its text from the Transpacific Partnership (TPP), which Trump had repudiated and unsigned once he took office. Compared to U.S. treaty practice generally, the USCMA is more of a continuation rather than a departure from prior texts. Second, we systematically investigate where the USMCA diverges from the TPP. We find that USMCA treaty design differences can be grouped in five categories: (1) structural remnants of NAFTA, such as bi-national panels to review trade remedies; (2) “America First” elements, such as tighter rules of origins; (3) modernizations, e.g. by incorporating TPP innovations on digital trade; (4) additions on non-U.S. policy priorities, such as gender rights, promoted by the other USMCA states; and finally (5) changes of a more technical nature. In sum, contrary to Trump’s rhetoric, the USMCA does not usher in a new generation of trade agreements, but it does engage in targeted innovations that are driven by varying policy considerations that include but are not limited to his “America First” agenda.

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How much of the Transpacific Partnership (TPP) is in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)? 

3 replies
  1. Herb Cochran says:

    Interesting to see the similarity between TPP and USMCA. Seems that both Democrats and Republicans in U.S. Congress want to approve the USMCA. What does this mean for future trade agreements between Vietnam and the U.S.?

  2. Herb Cochran says:

    What are the labor standards under USMCA, and what are Democrats concerns? (May 2019)

    “When Congress first took up NAFTA in 1993, many unions including the AFL-CIO and unions for machinists and electrical, garment, and mine workers lobbied vociferously against the trade agreement, threatening to withdraw support for any member of Congress who voted for its ratification. Though labor groups have been quieter this time around, there are still many who fear U.S. job losses as the North American market opens further, exposing more U.S. workers to direct competition with Mexican workers. That concern has led leading voices on the issue in the Democratic party to call for stronger labor enforcement in USMCA and domestic labor reforms in Mexico prior to a vote on USMCA.

    “Democrats lack faith in both the labor enforcement mechanisms negotiated alongside NAFTA and proposed under USMCA, leading them to demand domestic labor law changes in Mexico. The Democratic members of the House Ways and Means Committee wrote an open letter on Apr 11, 2019 to Ambassador Lighthizer raising issues with USMCA’s labor provisions. They expressed concern that the USMCA’s dispute settlement mechanism is “designed to be easily frustrated and will be ineffective.” This comes after the mechanism negotiated outside of the main NAFTA text did not create formal arbitrations for any of the 39 complaints of non-compliance with NAFTA labor obligations. Given the doubts that USMCA will improve labor standards independently, national legislation in Mexico is seen as the only way to ensure that labor standards will improve.”

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