The USA, Canada, and Mexico sign the new USMCA


The USA, Canada, and Mexico renegotiated the trade deal and signed the new United States Mexico Canada Agreement or the USMCA. The USMCA was announced on 30th September 2018 and will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement or NAFTA.

Under the new Agreement, Chapter 16 which deals with the temporary entry for professionals and businessmen was left unchanged from the original NAFTA text. Chapter 16 also allows access to professional labor from all three countries, as per CIC News.

In the case of Canada, Chapter 16 allows businesses in Canada to hire skilled Mexican and US workers in more than 60 occupations on temporary work permits. These work-permits have a validity of up to 3 years and may be renewed multiple times. Chapter 16 allows the employers to skip the Labor Market Impact Assessment which is needed to prove that no local was found to fill the position.

The same rules are applicable to employers in the US and Mexico who are hiring Canadian skilled professionals under Chapter 16.

The USMCA put to rest concerns that the Trump Govt. wanted to reduce the number of professions covered under Chapter 16. The US Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian negotiators wanted the number of professions covered under Chapter 16 to be expanded. They wanted Chapter 16 to include digital professions which did not exist in 1994 when the NAFTA was introduced. In the end, both sides agreed on leaving Chapter 16 unchanged.

“The USMCA is a win for professionals in both countries”, said a joint statement issued by Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s Foreign Minister, and Robert Lighthizer, U.S. Trade Representative. USMCA will create new opportunities and good, well-paying jobs for all the people who call North America home.


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