Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland announced yesterday the first step in ratification of the USMCA trade deal. Ratification by the Legislative Branch of the three countries is the last step before a date of entry into force is announced.
Minister Freeland announced the tabling of a Ways and Means motion on the legislation to ratify the USMCA. All taxation and Budgetary Bills are introduced as Ways and Means motions.
Moving the legislation to ratify the USMCA via a Ways and Means will enable the Government to expedite the Legislative cycle through both House of Commons and Senate. It will also enable a swift ratification of taxation components within the Bill.
Details on the timeline for ratification will become available after a meeting between Prime Minister Trudeau and U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence, on Thursday May 30th, in Ottawa.
Canada and Mexico are waiting on the United States to begin its ratification process. Mr. Pence will inform Prime Minister Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minister Freeland on the Congressional timeline. The U.S. Administration of President Trump and Democrat leaders in Congress and the Senate need to agree on the Bill before it is permitted passage through the Democrat-dominated congress. So far last week, negotiations were stalled.
The Bill can be passed by June 28 in Canada, though it is also possible that the process extends for a few weeks during the summer. Conservative Foreign Affairs critic Erin O’Toole said his party will cooperate with the Government to pass the bill through the House of Commons. With Conservative support for the agreement, the process in the Senate will be swift. Unexpected procedural or policy concerns brought by Independent Senators will likely only alter the timeline marginally.