This piece was originally published in the March/April 2019 issue of electroindustry.
Craig Updyke, Director, Trade and Commercial Affairs, NEMA
This spring, Congress is preparing to consider legislation to implement a new trade agreement between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada intended to replace the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). NEMA is working with interested Member companies and alongside other business groups to advocate for approval of the U.S.–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA) as soon as possible. NEMA’s support is grounded not only in the great importance of trade, investment, and supply chain relationships in North America but also in a series of cost-reducing provisions embedded in the agreement, including:
- Maintain tariff-free market access for products that originate in the region
- Provide greater flexibility for traders to use common and electronic business documents instead of laboring with duplicative paper government forms
- Deepen cooperation between customs authorities to interdict imports of counterfeit or otherwise non-compliant products
- Authorize trade in remanufactured equipment
- Require each country to adopt and implement open, transparent, impartial, and consensus processes for international Standards, a requirement that should create a level playing field for all relevant Standards that meet the criteria Authorize regulators to consider North American Standards if an international Standard does not exist and to reference multiple Standards that help satisfy their objectives
- Require equal treatment for North American conformity assessment bodies (CABs), even if the CAB does not have physical presence in the country for which they wish to test and certify products
- Require each country to allow persons from the other two nations to participate in development of technical regulations, Standards, and conformity assessment procedures on the same terms as local persons
- Specify comment periods for technical regulations of at least 60 days, six-month delays between adoption of a technical regulation and its effective date, and a reasonable period of time for companies to demonstrate conformity by the date of entry into force
- Direct the countries to work on developing common Standards and conformity assessment procedures in sectors of mutual interest and to encourage cooperation between their respective organizations responsible for Standards, conformity assessment, accreditation, and metrology, whether public or private
- Require countries to work together over time to harmonize upward their national mandatory energy-efficiency Standards and test procedures
- Commit national medical device regulators to improve alignment of regulations and regulatory activities, improve cooperation on inspections of manufacturers’ quality management systems (QMS), and to recognize QMS audits that are in accordance with Medical Device Single Audit Program requirements
- Prohibit governments from requiring companies to share source code or locate data storage within the customer country as a condition for conducting business there
If you have questions about USMCA or would like to get involved in advocacy on trade, contact Craig Updyke of NEMA Government Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org.