The Canada-US-Mexico Agreement Secretariat: What You Need to Know
The Canada-US-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), also known as the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), is a trade agreement that was signed by the three North American countries on November 30, 2018. CUSMA came into effect on July 1, 2020, replacing the former North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
As part of the CUSMA, a new organization was established in order to oversee the implementation and enforcement of the trade agreement: the CUSMA Secretariat. The Secretariat is responsible for administering the dispute settlement mechanisms and coordinating the activities of the three countries.
The CUSMA Secretariat is headquartered in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, and has a staff of approximately 90 people. The Secretariat is made up of three main bodies: the Secretariat, the Free Trade Commission, and the Committees.
The Secretariat is responsible for receiving and reviewing submissions from the three countries related to the implementation and enforcement of the CUSMA. The Secretariat also has the authority to initiate its own reviews and investigations to ensure that the provisions of the trade agreement are being followed.
The Free Trade Commission is made up of high-level representatives from each of the three countries and is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the CUSMA. The Commission meets once a year to review the progress of the agreement.
The Committees are responsible for providing technical advice and support to the Secretariat and the Free Trade Commission. There are 11 Committees in total, each focused on a specific area of the CUSMA, such as agriculture, labor, and intellectual property.
One of the key features of the CUSMA Secretariat is its transparency. The Secretariat publishes all submissions and reports on its website in order to provide greater public access to the implementation and enforcement of the trade agreement.
In addition to overseeing the implementation and enforcement of the CUSMA, the Secretariat also has a mandate to promote the benefits of the trade agreement and to provide outreach and education to stakeholders in all three countries.
Overall, the establishment of the CUSMA Secretariat is a significant development in the North American trade relationship. By providing an independent and transparent mechanism for the implementation and enforcement of the CUSMA, the Secretariat will help to ensure that the trade agreement functions effectively and benefits all three countries.