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Key Economic Indicators 
Item  Rate 
CPI: 0.4% (Mar 2019) 
GDP Growth:   2.6% (4th QTR 2018)
Bank Prime Interest Rate:   5.5%
Consumer Confidence:  124.1% (Mar 2019) 
Small Biz Confidence:  101.8% (Mar 2019) 
Avg Gas Price:  $2.82 









Oct 2018


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The U.S., Mexico & Canada Have A New Trade Agreement

USMCA stand for U.S., Mexico and Canada Agreement.  What does this final, trilateral agreement mean for your small business?


Dispute Resolution:  Canada scored wins with the preservation of NAFTA's state-to-state dispute-resolution system and cultural provisions that carve out a certain amount of the Canadian media market for domestically produced programming.


Review:  The USMCA includes a 16-year expiration date and a provision that requires a review of the deal every six years, when it can be extended.

Dairy access:   The US will be able to export the equivalent of 3.6% of Canada's dairy market, up from the existing level of about 1%.  Canada will get rid of the "Class 7" milk pricing program.  Expansion of market access for U.S. poultry and egg producers.  Greater access to Canadian market for Wheat growers.  Timely review of products produced through biotechnology and gene editing.


Agricultural goods:  Canada will give the US more access to its chicken, turkey, and egg markets, and British Columbia will allow the sale of US wines at its state-owned liquor stores. Mexico agreed to allow imports of certain US cheeses.  U.S. wheat will no longer be branded as "feed grade" once the trade agreement is ratified. Canada will be required to treat imported wheat from the U.S. "no less favorable than it accords to like wheat of national origin with respect to the assignment of grade qualities."  The countries agreed to form a committee on agricultural trade that will focus on trade barriers and cooperation. The committee will meet within one year after the agreement is ratified.


Auto rules:  Members must produce 75% of a car for it to pass through the countries duty-free, up from 62.5%. Additionally, 40% of each car must be produced by workers making $16 an hour or more to avoid duties.


Auto Tariffs: Canada would be allowed to ship 2.6 million cars to the US without tariffs, well above the 1.8 million it sent last year, and send $32.4 billion worth of parts without getting hit by tariffs. Mexico's deal was similar, except the country can send $108 billion worth of parts.


Currency Exchange Rate:  All three countries agreed to not actively intervene to strengthen or weaken their currencies.   They agreed to let the market determine the exchange rate.


Intellectual property:  The copyright period in Canada increased to 70 years after the creator's death, up from 50 years, bringing the country in line with the US.  Also, exclusivity for biologic drugs before generics can be produced will be increased to 10 years in Canada from eight years.


Increase in the de minimis levels: The de minimis level is the amount of a good a person can take across the border without being hit with duties. Canada will increase the de minimis level for US goods to 40 Canadian dollars from 20 Canadian dollars; for cross-border shipments like e-commerce, the level will be boosted to 150 Canadian dollars. Mexico will also bump its de minimis level to $50 and duty-free shipments to $117.



Canada is the largest U.S. export market for agriculture, valued at $20.5 billion in exports in 2017. Mexico is the No. 3 overall U.S. market, valued at $18.6 billion last year.



One item left out of the deal was the reinstatement of Country of Origin Labeling.


American Agriculturist
Office of the Unites States Trade Representative

By Bill Williams













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