NAFTA has had its sharp critics. Politicians and citizens have attacked the free-trade agreement since the beginning. Even one of Trump’s campaign promise was to cancel NAFTA.
USMCA hasn’t precisely started with the right foot. Pelosi, the President of House of Representatives, has said that the new agreement would not be voted if Mexico doesn’t change its labor law. Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders has criticized USMCA saying that doesn’t end with the trend of outsourcing jobs outside the US.
Karan Bhatia, Vice President of Global Public Affairs and Government Relations in Google, has other ideas. He wrote recently about how USMCA create a robust framework for digital business. Here some highlights about his article.
The NAFTA world was quite different
Bhatia started talking about how different was the world in 1992, when Mexico, the United States, and Canada signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The agreement mentioned telegrams a lot of times, and the word “email” was never used. A normal thing: most people didn’t know what email was. And if a business wished to participate in international trade, it would need “big financial resources, offices, and staff around the world, and lots of fax machines,” said Bhatia.
“Today, even the smallest of businesses can be global players and have customers in every corner of the world.” And that’s thanks to the Internet. The online tools let a small business to be global.
“Small businesses using online tools are five times more likely to export than their offline counterparts,” noticed Bhatia. “U.S. manufacturers are now the leading exporters of products and services online.”
Why digital economy needs USMCA?
The USMCA is an agreement thinking for the digital age. Bhatia said, “The new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA) includes a comprehensive set of digital trade provisions that keep the internet open, and protect the businesses and consumers that rely on it.”
Bhatia highlighted some points in the new agreement that will benefit the digital economy.
Trusted infrastructure: “USMCA promotes an open and secure global technical infrastructure that supports a new kind of trade.”
Innovation-enabling rules: “USMCA promotes the open online framework that’s been key to the success of the U.S. internet economy.”
Protecting data: “Consumers’ privacy should be protected no matter what country an individual or business is located in, and USMCA reflects this important principle.”
Access to information: “USMCA limits government restrictions on information flow across borders.”
Modernizing trade: “USMCA prohibits our trading partners from imposing customs duties on things like e-books, videos, music, software, games, and apps—ensuring consumers can continue to enjoy free or low-cost digital products.”
Karan Bhatia ends talking about how USMCA allows everyone to benefit from a free and open internet: “USMCA will establish a strong framework to promote the new digital economy, and will unlock new sources of opportunity, creativity and job growth in North America.”