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The “new NAFTA” known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement or USMCA (U.S.), CUSMA (Canada), and T-MEC (Mexico), entered into force on July 1, 2020. Although U.S. Customs and Border Protection (USCBP), Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), and Mexico’s Servicio de Administratión Tributaria (SAT) intend to demonstrate maximum flexibility regarding the enforcement of this new trade agreement, there is one last window to prepare for USMCA – and that is now.
“Phase I”, the first six months of USMCA implementation that lasts from July 1 through December 30, 2020, requires companies to comply with the agreement’s provisions, including certification of origin requirements. Additionally, the three new certifications for the automotive sector – Labor Value Content (LVC), Steel, and Aluminum – will not be fully implemented until the close of 2020. It follows that companies will need to ensure that they are operating in compliance with these new standards. USMCA is not NAFTA and new rules apply.
Dickinson Wright is one of few law firms with full-service offices in both the U.S. and Canada, and North American trade is at the core of our international practice. Our lawyers have assisted clients in the U.S. and Canada with their cross-border matters since the 1860s and 1870s, and in Mexico via our various network partners since the 1960s and 1970s. In fact, our firm helped shape the U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and this leadership role continued in shaping USMCA with Dickinson Wright testifying before the office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) and Canada’s House of Commons.
We helped develop the negotiating objectives and have participated in all USMCA negotiating rounds as part of the stakeholder delegations for the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, advocating for clients in the automotive, agriculture, customs and trade facilitation, and digital chapters negotiations, and serving as a key advisor to multiple industry associations during the negotiations.
Our team members are leading international trade attorneys on USMCA matters and have served in the U.S. and Canadian governments. They regularly assist clients on NAFTA and USMCA matters, and have testified before the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) and the Parliament of Canada regarding USMCA; collaborated with the three countries during the negotiations; attended all negotiating rounds; published multiple training materials on the subject; and have a leading media presence regarding USMCA in various outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and Politico. Our attorneys possess specialized experience in the automotive rules of origin (ROO), working with the Government of Canada, the U.S., and Mexico in the design of the rules, and have offered training seminars with Mexico’s USMCA Automotive ROO negotiator.
Our team of attorneys handles key issues for companies confronting USMCA during Phase I, including:
• Certification of Origin Requirements
• Record Keeping / Audit Preparation
• Labor Reform issues in Mexico and their impact on operations and supply chain
• Intellectual Property
• Business Immigration
• Customs and Border Management
• Transportation and Third-Party Logistics (3PL) Agreements
• Privacy and Digital Compliance
Dickinson Wright has a specialized program and fee schedule to assist clients with USMCA compliance. These include document checklists, consultations, training, and self-assessments to ensure that companies have a competitive advantage in the new North America.