Canada Passes New Nafta Trade Deal in Rush to Suspend Parliament

(Bloomberg) -- Canadian lawmakers voted unanimously to pass an overhaul of its free-trade deal with the U.S. and Mexico on Friday at the same time that they suspended their session for five weeks due to coronavirus.

The legislation was rushed through the Canadian parliament on Friday, as part of the same motion to break until April 20.

The new North American trade deal, known as CUSMA in Canada and USMCA in the U.S., was signed into law in the U.S. by President Donald Trump in January and passed in Mexico last year. Renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement began in 2017 after Trump criticized Nafta as unfair to the U.S. and threatened to withdraw, raising the idea of chaos in a highly integrated regional economy where annual trade exceeds $1 trillion.

“It is extremely important that the Canadian parliament has taken this decision, although all of us expected that decision to come,” said Juan Carlos Baker, a founding partner of consulting firm Ansley Consultores Internacionales and one of the top officials on the Mexican negotiating team in the previous government. “It brings closure, and right now the economic conditions worldwide is in need a dose of good news.”

To come into place, the countries also need to notify each other once they’ve taken all necessary steps for the deal. It would enter force about 60-90 days after that.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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