It’s been touch and go on whether or not NAFTA 2.0 – officially the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement, or CUSMA – will jump every political hurdle set in its path for the end of 2019.
Originally signed on Nov. 30, 2018, each country’s government bodies were required to approve the agreement before it can take effect. It was held up in the United States’ House of Representatives until recently. Among other things, the Democrats wanted changes to enforcement provisions on labour and environmental rules. The Mexican government has already ratified the trade agreement – while here in Canada MPs are still debating whether or not to introduce the legislation before the holiday break.
The steel and aluminum tariffs that were a “negotiating tactic” by the U.S. caused considerable harm to the HVAC/R industry. My best guess will be that some tariff related price increases won’t drop back to pre-tariff levels.
But, at the end of the day, I believe that most Canadians and Canadian businesses are happy that the agreement appears to be close to completion. We can just hope that while the tariffs were still in place that Canadian businesses have been able to weather the storm, and things will go back to the way things used to be.
I have heard from both people in the industry – and even some of those in other industries – that 2019 has been an extremely hard year in the market. Hopefully the official passing of CUSMA into legislation will tie off a few of the ends to the issue. Whether or not this deal will be better or worse than its predecessor remains to be seen.
For now, we are heading into the holiday season with a much-deserved break – if I may say so myself. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to all our readers from everyone here at Plumbing & HVAC Magazine. Oh, and a Happy New Year!