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Trade experts urge heads-up approach for businesses as USMCA comes into force

作者:admin 2020-07-01

WASHINGTON — Experts and ambassadors across the continent are urging North American businesses to keep their heads up and their eyes open for both growth opportunities and perils in the fine print as the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement comes into force.

Assuming that the USMCA, which takes effect Wednesday, does little more than update its old NAFTA predecessor would risk running afoul of the deal’s new rules — or worse, leaving money and new prosperity on the table, said Paul Burns, an international trade lawyer in Baker McKenzie’s Toronto office.

While some operations have been doing their due diligence for months in anticipation of the deal taking effect, Burns said others have waited until the last minute, if the sudden surge of interest in the firm’s USMCA online seminars is any indication.

“I think there is now a real focus on understanding what the agreement means for the business and what steps have to be taken by July 1 in order to be able to claim the benefits of this new agreement,” he said.

The deal is coming into force under a familiar cloud: U.S. threats of new 10 per cent tariffs on Canadian exports of aluminum, which U.S. trade ambassador Robert Lighthizer says have spiked past acceptable levels in recent months, a claim officials in Ottawa strenuously dispute.

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