IL Corn is joining many other organizations in appreciation for a positive conclusion to the talks intended to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement, known as NAFTA. We’ll be working to update our terminology, as well, as the new agreement, if ratified by Congress, will come with a different name. The timing on the Congressional action is questionable, however, as the procedure could take many months to complete. As was reported in Politico by Megan Cassella, “Most trade experts and analysts expect that a vote on the deal, which wrapped up Sunday, will not happen until 2019 because of several procedural steps it must go through. They have also noted that if Democrats win control of one or both houses, the new trade deal, officially called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, is going to face more scrutiny.”
So what’s the timeline? Here’s a look at what’s yet to come. (an interactive version of this timeline is available from Politico here)
60 days prior to the signing of the text of the U.S. Canada Mexico Agreement (USMCA), The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative released the text of the three-way deal late on Sept. 30, 2018.
30 days after notification of intention to sign, submission of Advisory Committee reports
Trade Promotion Authority calls for the formation of a handful of advisory groups composed of representatives from state and local governments, agriculture and other industries, and other stakeholders. These groups are meant to help ensure that private and public stakeholders have a say in trade policy. Reports were made public on Sept. 30 on the U.S.-Mexico agreement but it is unclear whether these reports will be updated with details from the Canada agreement.
Agreement signed (date TBD)
60 days after the agreement is signed, list of required changes in law due
The administration will have up to 60 calendar days after the agreement is signed to submit a list of changes to U.S. law that will be needed for the deal to take effect.
105 days after the agreement is signed, U.S. ITC report due
The U.S. International Trade Commission is required to complete a report assessing the agreement’s potential economic impact, which must be made public. This is one of the most flexible requirements outlined under TPA: The ITC has up to 105 days after the agreement is signed to submit its report, but it may do so sooner. Some experts think the ITC can begin its analysis before the agreement is signed because the president is required to submit to the commission details of the proposed deal 90 days before signing.
30 days prior to implementing legislation, final text and draft SAA submitted
The administration must submit to Congress the final text of the implementing legislation and a draft Statement of Administrative Action 30 days before the bill is formally introduced.
Mock markups (optional, no time schedule)
The Senate Finance Committee and House Ways and Means Committee may provide advice to the administration on the contents of the implementing bill by holding hearings and a mock conference on the draft version. Though not required by statute, the advisory process is generally used as a way for Congress to communicate its preferences to the administration before the formal bill is put forward.
Could take 45 days
Implementing bill introduced in House and Senate
Ways and Means and Senate Finance may take up to 45 days in session to report the bill back to the floor. They can neither amend it nor recommend amendments. If they do not report the bill after 45 session days, it will be automatically discharged to the floor.
Could take 15 days
House Ways and Means must report the bill
Because most trade agreements affect tariffs, the implementing bill will be considered a revenue bill, which requires the House to act first.
Could take 15 days
House must vote on the bill
Any member of the House may call the bill up for consideration, and then debate will be limited to 20 hours. The bill needs support from a majority of members voting to pass, at which point it will go to the Senate.
Could take 15 days
Senate Finance Committee must report the bill
The Senate Finance Committee will have up to 15 session days to consider the House bill before it is discharged.
Senate must vote on the bill
Because neither chamber is allowed to add amendments to the bill, the version the Senate has received from the House will be identical to the one the Senate received initially. Any senator may then call up the bill for consideration without waiting for action from the majority leader. Debate is again limited to 20 hours, and the bill can pass with support from a majority of members voting.
Bill signed into public law
President implements the agreement by proclamation