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From Protectionism to USMCA: A History of U.S. Trade

Helen Mann | November 9, 2020 | Export Markets, Free Trade Agreements

Importers and exporters know that trade has become part of the lifeblood of the American economy.

The numbers are astounding: 39 million jobs—including 6 million manufacturing positions—depend on trade, according to a 2019 study by Trade Partnership Worldwide. In 2018, American farmers exported $139.6 billion worth of agricultural products. And small- and medium-sized businesses make up 98% of U.S. exporters.

This is largely owing to the buildup of trade relationships with other countries. The United States is currently working on its 15th free trade agreement with its 21st trading partner, and it's hard to imagine a world without these partnerships. But less than a century ago, the landscape looked completely different.

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USMCA Aims to Help Workers with New Labor Provision; Importers Should Ensure Their Vendors Comply

Helen Mann | August 17, 2020 | Free Trade Agreements

If your company is importing goods duty free from Mexico thanks to the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), you need to ensure your vendors are following Mexican labor laws or you could find yourself staring at a big bill for overdue duties.

The USMCA went into effect on July 1, replacing the North American Free Trade Agreement. NAFTA ushered in a new era for North American trade, and the USMCA looks to build on that momentum, mostly keeping NAFTA’s tariff structure, while addressing aspects of the economy that weren’t big priorities in 1994, like e-commerce and digital trade.

Some of the updates in the new agreement got a lot of media play, like new rules of origin requirements and the sunset clause. There’s another important change, though, that’s less talked about: the Rapid Response Labor Mechanism. It may have garnered less attention than some of the other policies, but it matters just as much to importers and exporters.

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When to Use a Certificate of Origin Form for Your Export Shipments

David Noah | August 12, 2020 | Export Forms, Free Trade Agreements

The certificate of origin is a document issued by an exporter that confirms and certifies the country of origin of its products.

Alternatively, it might be a separate letter or form that incorporates a statement indicating the country of origin is as stated on the commercial invoice and certifies the document is true and correct; it is then signed by the exporter’s employee.

It is issued by the exporter, stamped by a Chamber of Commerce, and supported by a commercial invoice declaring the same information.

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Using the Right Certificate of Origin for Your Exports

Catherine J. Petersen | July 20, 2020 | Export Forms, Free Trade Agreements

As an exporter, you are required to provide documents to accompany your international shipments. The number and kinds of documents that you must prepare will vary depending on where, what and how you are shipping.

A certificate of origin (COO) may be one of the export forms you need to produce.

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USMCA Certificate of Origin Filling Software and How to Complete It

David Noah | July 1, 2020 | Export Forms, Free Trade Agreements

If you spend any time on the web (and who doesn't), I think you can relate to one of my pet peeves. It seems like every website I visit wants a unique password and username—one I have to either memorize or write down, so I can refer to it each time I log in.

If you don’t have that information handy, or you’re working on a different computer (say, a laptop vs. your desktop), you have to reset your password.

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Here's What's New in the USMCA

Helen Mann | June 22, 2020 | Free Trade Agreements

On July 1, 2020, the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, expired, and the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) took its place. NAFTA had a good run. It went into effect in 1994 and created the world’s largest free trade zone between the United States, Canada and Mexico.

The goal of NAFTA was to bolster trade by reducing or eliminating most trade barriers (primarily in the form of tariffs), which it did. Between 1993 and 2017, trade between the three countries rose from $290 billion to more than $1.3 trillion.

Now, the USMCA takes its place. The new agreement modernizes NAFTA and addresses topics that were less relevant in 1994, such as e-commerce and the flow of international data.

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Preparing for USMCA: 6 Steps for Importers and Exporters

David Noah | June 10, 2020 | Free Trade Agreements

On April 24, 2020, the U.S. Trade Representative announced that the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) will enter into force and replace NAFTA on July 1, 2020. In this announcement, the Trade Representative said this new free trade agreement will provide "significant improvements and modernized approaches to rules of origin, agricultural market access, intellectual property, digital trade, financial services, labor, and numerous other sectors."

While the new agreement is no surprise, the timing of its implementation caught many companies off guard coming in the midst of a pandemic and economic turmoil. These companies are now rushing to prepare for July 1.

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NAFTA vs. USMCA: The North American Free Trade Agreement and the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement

David Noah | May 27, 2020 | Free Trade Agreements

If you’ve been paying attention to the news, you’ve probably seen or heard something (maybe a lot of things) about the end of NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, and the beginning of a new trade agreement called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement or USMCA.

Well, after years of talk, it's finally happened. On July 1, 2020, NAFTA was replaced by USMCA.

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NAFTA Preference Criteria, Producer, and Net Cost

Lisa Nemer | January 27, 2020 | Free Trade Agreements, Shipping Solutions News & Tips

Occasionally I’ll get a call from someone who says, “I’m almost done filling out my NAFTA Certificate of Origin. I just need to know how to complete items 7, 8 and 9. What do I put in those columns?”

Well, that’s the rub isn’t it? The rest of the form is easy, but the meat of it is in those three columns. Those columns determine whether your goods deserve preferential duty treatment under the North American Free Trade Agreement between the United States, Canada and Mexico.

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When Should You Refuse to Complete the USMCA Certificate of Origin?

David Noah | June 19, 2019 | Free Trade Agreements

On July 1, 2020, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement replaced the the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as the primary instrument to eliminate duties on certain qualifying products traded among the three countries.

While everyone knew this change was coming, the Office of the United States Trade Representative's announcement of the July 1 implementation date caught many exporters off guard. Companies are now rushing to replace their outdated NAFTA Certificates of Origin with the new USMCA Certificate of Origin.

Rather than rushing blindly into preparing the new USMCA Certificates, now may be a good time for exporters to review the benefits of utilizing this free trade agreement.

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