Trade Agreements

SSINA strongly supports the new U.S.-Canada-Mexico Agreement (USMCA), which will encourage increased manufacturing and investment in the United States.
USMCA flags

On behalf of the U.S. specialty metals industry, SSINA closely monitors and engages with key policymakers on various bilateral and multilateral trade negotiations, in addition to the enforcement of existing agreements. SSINA advocates for provisions to strengthen U.S. and North American manufacturers and the specialty metals industry – such as strong rules of origin for high performance materials – as well as provisions that maintain or strengthen U.S. trade remedy laws and promote cooperation on trade enforcement efforts.

U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)

On November 30, 2018, the leaders of the United States, Canada and Mexico signed the updated North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), now known as the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement or “USMCA.” On December 10, 2019, following months of negotiations between the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) and House Democrats, officials from the three countries signed amendments to the agreement reflecting additional changes necessary for Congressional approval in the United States. Subsequently, the agreement was approved overwhelmingly by the U.S. House of Representatives and then by the Senate. The agreement, already ratified in Mexico, must also be ratified in Canada.

The existing NAFTA is expected to remain in place until the USMCA enters into force (three months after the final country has ratified the new agreement). SSINA strongly supports the updated agreement, which will encourage increased manufacturing and investment in the United States.

The USMCA significantly improves upon NAFTA’s rules of origin and regional value content (RVC) requirements to incentivize the consumption of North American steel in the manufacturing of steel-intensive goods in the North American region. Specifically, the agreement sets forth enhanced RVC requirements for a number of steel-intensive goods and mandates that automakers purchase 70 percent of their consumed steel from North America in order for their own vehicles to be considered originating.

Other improvements supported by SSINA:

  • The USMCA includes provisions to promote increased information-sharing among the three North American governments to confront circumvention and evasion of trade remedy measures.
  • The new agreement contains important provisions that will strengthen trade law enforcement within the United States and enhance coordination with Canada and Mexico to facilitate increased customs and trade law enforcement and cooperation among the three governments.
  • The agreement breaks new ground by incorporating important transparency and reporting requirements to buttress prohibitions against trade distorting currency manipulation.
  • The USMCA contains significant new disciplines on the conduct of state-owned enterprises (SOEs), including prohibitions on certain subsidies to SOEs.
  • In addition, the agreement contains a first-of-its-kind notification and consultation provision for instances in which any Party to the agreement may be in negotiation to conclude a free-trade agreement with a non-market economy country – often the sources of the unfair trade practices and government interventions which threaten to undermine trade with and within our economy.

In June 2017, prior to the launch of the renegotiations, SSINA joined five leading North American steel trade associations urging their respective governments to ensure that a renegotiated NAFTA included provisions to grow the consumption of North American steel and to increase intra-NAFTA trade and market share for NAFTA producers. SSINA believes the USMCA accomplishes those goals.

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