Trade policy is a subject that does not necessarily come to mind when you think of the FDA. But in fact, there are two reasons why the FDA is closely following trade policy: protecting our rules and authorities and using trade agreements as a vehicle to promote public health. NAFTA has boosted Mexican agricultural exports to the United States, which have tripled since the pact was implemented. Hundreds of thousands of jobs in the automotive industry have also been created in the country and most studies [PDF] have found that the agreement has increased productivity and reduced consumer prices in Mexico. The USMCA is expected to have a very small impact on the economy.  An International Monetary Fund (IMF) discussion paper published at the end of March 2019 stated that the agreement would have a “negligible” impact on the general economy.   The IMF study predicted that the USMCA “would have a negative impact on trade in the automotive, textile and clothing sectors, while achieving modest welfare gains, mainly due to improved access to the goods market, with a negligible impact on real GDP.”  The IMF study concluded that the economic benefits of the USMCA would be greatly enhanced if Trump`s trade war ended (i.e., the United States lowering tariffs on imports steel and aluminum from Canada and Mexico and that Canada and Mexico reduced retaliatory duties on imports from the United States)  NAFTA has long been a political objective. In 2008, then-Presidential candidate Barack Obama responded to widespread trade skepticism within the Democratic base by promising to renegotiate NAFTA to incorporate stricter labor and environmental standards. The Obama administration tried to address NAFTA issues during the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, a massive trade agreement with 11 other countries, including Canada and Mexico.
The TPP was deeply unpopular – Hillary Clinton ultimately opposed the deal during her 2016 presidential bid – and President Trump withdrew the United States from the TPP in one of his first official acts. The full text of the agreement between the United States, Mexico and Canada is available here. In the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Donald Trump`s campaign included a promise to renegotiate or eliminate NAFTA if the renegotiations fail.  After the election, Trump made a series of changes that influenced trade relations with other countries. The exit from the Paris Agreement, the cessation of participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations and the significantly larger increase in tariffs with China were some of the steps he took, which reinforced the fact that he was serious about changing NAFTA.  Much of the debate about the virtues and errors of the USMCA resembles the debate on all free trade agreements (FTAs), such as the nature of free trade agreements as public goods, potential violations of national sovereignty and the role of commercial, labour, environmental and consumer interests in the development of the language of trade agreements. On March 1, 2019, many organizations representing the agricultural sector in the United States announced their support for the USMCA and asked Congress to ratify the agreement. They also called on the Trump administration to continue to support NAFTA until the new trade agreement is ratified.  On March 4, House Ways and Means President Richard Neal predicted a “very hard” path through Congress for the agreement.
 Starting March 7, senior White House officials met with members of the Ways and Means House of Representatives, as well as moderate cackles from both parties, such as the Solver Caucus, the Tuesday Group and the Blue Dog Coalition, to seek ratification support.