In addition to its work with the WTO, the United States has concluded trade agreements with 20 countries that cover a number of issues, ranging from tariffs on goods and access to the agricultural market to intellectual property and the environment. For the FDA, the specific themes are chapters of agreements on regulatory issues such as SPS measures, OBTs and good regulatory practices – as well as sector chapters on cosmetics, medical devices and drugs, if any. The FDA helps develop negotiation proposals in the United States and the FDA is actively involved in trade negotiations with U.S. trading partners. A new addition to the USMCA is the inclusion of Chapter 33, which covers macroeconomic policies and exchange rate issues. This is considered important because it could set a precedent for future trade agreements.  Chapter 33 sets out requirements for currency and macroeconomic transparency that, in the event of a breach, would be grounds for litigation under Chapter 20.  The United States, Canada and Mexico currently meet all of these transparency requirements in addition to substantive policy requirements that comply with the international Monetary Fund`s articles.  An April 2019 Analysis by the International Trade Commission on the likely effects of the USMCA estimated that if the agreement were fully implemented (six years after ratification), the agreement would increase U.S. real GDP by 0.35 percent and total U.S. employment by 0.12% (176,000 jobs).   The analysis cited by another Congressional Research Service study showed that the agreement would not have a measurable effect on employment, wages or overall economic growth. In the summer of 2019, Larry Kudlow, Trump`s chief economic adviser (the director of the National Economic Council at Trump White House), made unfounded statements about the likely economic impact of the agreement and overstated forecasts related to jobs and GDP growth.  On June 1, 2020, USTR Robert Lighthizer released the uniform rules, which are the final hurdle before the agreement is implemented on July 1, 2020. The text of the agreement is available here: ustr.gov/trade-agreements/free-trade-agreements/united-states-mexico-canada-agreement/uniform-regulations For the first time in a U.S. trade agreement, this agreement prohibits local data storage requirements in cases where a financial supervisory authority has access to the data it needs to fulfill its regulatory and supervisory mandate. In 1994, the United States, Mexico and Canada, with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), created the world`s largest free trade region, which generated economic growth and helped improve the living standards of the people of the three member countries. By strengthening trade and investment rules, this agreement has proven to be a solid foundation for building Canada`s prosperity and has provided a valuable example of the benefits of trade liberalization for the rest of the world. The new Canada-U.S.-Mexico agreement will strengthen Canada`s strong economic ties with the United States and Mexico. The full text of the agreement between the United States, Mexico and Canada is available here.
Trade policy is a subject that does not necessarily come to mind when you think of the FDA. But in fact, there are two reasons why the FDA is closely following trade policy: protecting our rules and authorities and using trade agreements as a vehicle to promote public health.