USMCA trade deal important as a ‘functioning’ dispute mechanism, trade expert says

The deal includes changes to auto-specific rules of origin that require 75 percent of auto content for passenger vehicles and light trucks be made in North America. It also established — for the first time — a labor value content rule requiring 40 to 45 percent of auto content be made by workers earning at least $16 an hour.

USMCA also includes a rapid-response mechanism that allows immediate investigation of labor issues. While Meiman said there was some initial fear the mechanism could be implemented in an unfair way, the handful of cases that have been filed since the deal went into effect have worked out well.

“Overall, it’s been responsible and led to good results,” she said.

Elsewhere in the world, Meiman said she’s closely monitoring the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, unveiled this year as a means of replacing the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which the U.S. withdrew from under the Trump administration. Many details, such as potential tariff reductions or market access, have not yet been announced, but Meiman said she’s hopeful something positive will be accomplished.

“I don’t think it will be nothing,” she said. “I think we’ll be able to move the needle on some important items.”

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