Impacts of the New United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement on Automotive Manufacturers

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the United States, Mexico, and Canada was officially renegotiated at the end of September, and became what is now the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. With the ability for U.S. companies to operate in Canada and Mexico free of tariffs preserved for now, the new agreement updates 24-year-old terms to include a heavy focus on the automotive industry, as well as agriculture, the digital economy, and labor unions.

The updated trade agreement terms have the potential to highly impact the automotive industry. New stipulations require a higher percentage of an automobile’s content to be produced in NAFTA regions and a minimum of $16 per hour paid to workers. The deal’s sunset clause details that the agreement will be in place for 16 years and is to be reviewed every six years.

In this post, we will describe some of the agreement’s terms and what they will mean for automotive manufacturers if the measure receives Congressional approval and goes into effect.

What’s Included in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement?

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement includes new terms affecting how much of an automobile is to be produced in NAFTA regions. Original NAFTA terms required 62.5 percent of an automobile’s components to be produced in relevant regions for manufacturers to gain the zero-tariff benefit. New terms in the trade deal increase that requirement: 75 percent of an automobile’s composition is to be fabricated in NAFTA regions.

Canada’s participation in this trade deal was in question until September 30th, when the United States’ northern neighbor finally reached an agreement with the terms. There had been threats previously that Canada would be excluded from the new deal, which would have presented a negative impact for automotive manufacturers relying on Canadian-made components and materials.

What the Terms Mean for U.S. Automotive Manufacturers

With new terms requiring 75 percent of an automobile’s contents to be produced in the U.S., Mexico, or Canada, NAFTA regions will receive an influx of manufacturing work for automobile components. This increased production could bring new jobs to the automotive manufacturing industry.

Using local materials, including aluminum and steel, benefits labor unions and protects many high-paying jobs currently located in the U.S. Additionally, the United States would have the ability to impose tariffs if the 75 percent threshold is not reached.

It’s also good for the automotive sector that Canada has maintained its partnership within the agreement. Given that numerous automotive companies in the United States rely on Canadian materials and components for automobile production, higher prices would have been an undesirable consequence as foreign automakers may have benefited from American companies’ decreased competitive advantage.

Stay Tuned

While the terms of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement affect businesses in a variety of industries, the automotive sector will experience one of the largest impacts. As the deal moves closer to approval and implementation, Pentaflex is committed to providing the information you need to stay up-to-date.

We consider ourselves a direct stakeholder in this deal due to our close involvement with clients in the automotive supply base— many of those based in Mexico. As a leader in the U.S. metal forming industry, Pentaflex will continue to track trade deal deliberations surrounding the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

To learn more about what the United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement means for your business or to learn about our products and services, contact us today.

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