According to a top official from the Canadian government, the parliament has quickly ratified the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade pact even as it ramps up efforts to stop the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus.
Canada was the last of the three signatories to formally adopt the pact, prompting congratulations from the United States and Mexico.
On Friday, the House of Commons lower chamber, which had weeks of deliberations left, had agreed the instant approval after opposition legislators dropped their objections.
The upper Senate chamber has already backed the pact later in the day, said Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland.
“(This) was entirely within the power of Canadian legislators to do, something we were able to do to help the Canadian economy at this challenging time, and I would like to thank legislators from all parties,” said Freeland.
The only step that is remaining is before the trade pact becomes law in Canada is to get the approval of the governor-general – the representative of Queen Elizabeth, Canada’s head of state – which is a only a formality.
“Now that the USMCA has been approved by all three countries, an historic new chapter for North American trade has begun,” said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in a statement.
“We are in the midst of a global pandemic that is significantly disrupting our supply chains, and the industry is throwing all available resources into managing production through this crisis,” said a groups representing U.S. and foreign automakers including Volkswagen AG, General Motors Co, and Toyota Motor Corp along with auto dealers and suppliers. They went on to add, they were “gravely concerned” by the June 1 date, including the new automotive rules of origin.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said the approval was good news for Mexico at a time of economic and financial instability.