The United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA) was signed by the three member nations on November 30.

The legal revision of the USMCA, the modernized trilateral version of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), was concluded last week. The deal was signed on the sidelines of the leaders' summit, the Group of Twenty (G-20 Summit) in Argentina.

Contention over tariffs

Before signing the agreement, Mexico was still lobbying for the United States to eliminate tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum. "We are working to find a solution. We have the arguments, we have presented alternatives in terms of how we can solve this, and we hope to resolve it before November 30," said Kenneth Smith, who represents Mexico in the negotiations. In June, the U.S. imposed a 25% tariff on steel and 10% tariff on aluminum imported from Mexico. At the moment, the elimination of these tariffs is not guaranteed.

Despite both Mexican and Canadian efforts, the tariffs on steel and aluminum are staying put for now. According to Terry Hines, an analyst at ISI Evercore, "U.S. Trade Representative Lighthizer today carefully acknowledged that the three countries will negotiate on the tariffs. Once they agree that there are demonstrably changed circumstances on metals issues, the metals tariffs on Canada and Mexico likely cease, our instinct is early in the New Year.” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed his discontent regarding the tariffs, saying that the layoff plans in place for General Motors is “all the more reason why we need to keep working to remove the tariffs on steel and aluminum between our countries."

The agreement should be approved by the legislature of the three countries in the first eight months of next year, and is set to enter into force on January 1, 2020.

If you want to learn more about the USMCA signing and the effort to eliminate tariffs on Mexican metals, visit Xinhuanet, Financial Post, CNBC, and Global News.