The USMCA is being spun in Canada as a tweak to NAFTA. By the time the U.S. implementing legislation gets written up, even the trade policy specialists usually onside are going to be critical of much that is new. So far not one new positive element has been identified in the USMCA as a benefit for Canada. Pierre Trudeau called the original FTA with the U.S. “a monstrous swindle.” The new deal is that, plus a set of unnecessary capitulations to shut up Donald Trump on trade. It won’t.
Official Ottawa needs to recognize that Canada is better off working with other countries to build a reasonable multilateral trading world rather than depending on the goodwill of a Donald Trump to re-negotiate NAFTA, or betting that he will not be re-elected. It is past time for Canada to return to active support for improved multilateral trade arrangements instead of pursuing bilateral or regional agreements.