The Office of the United States Trade Representative has notified the United States Congress that the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) will enter into force on July 1, 2020. Following the notification to Congress, the United States became the third country to certify to the Parties (Mexico and Canada) that it had completed its domestic procedures to implement the agreement, which is the final step needed for the USMCA to enter into force.
In the coming weeks and months, several related developments will be underway. To support the USMCA implementation, new regulations are being drafted under Part 182 of the Customs regulations (19 C.F.R. Part 182). Further, the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) will be amended to include General Note 11 to include information on the USMCA rules of origin.
Until the USMCA enters into force, the North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”) requirements—which are set forth in Part 181 of the Customs regulations and General Note 12 of the HTSUS—remain in effect.
Recommendations to Importers
- Importers with established NAFTA programs should begin taking steps to assess the impact of new USMCA requirements on existing compliance procedures. Further, importers will face the challenge of not only transitioning existing NAFTA programs to meet USMCA requirements, but also maintaining existing NAFTA programs for entries of merchandise running back five years.
- Importers of goods from Mexico or Canada who currently do not benefit from preferential treatment under NAFTA should assess whether the USMCA represents new opportunities for duty savings.