The Good Regulatory Practices (GRP) chapter includes commitments related to:
- Central coordination of regulatory bodies.
- Publication of annual plans of expected regulations.
- Public consultations on draft texts of regulations.
- Evidence-based analysis and explanations of the scientific or technical basis for new regulations (such as parameters for conducting regulatory impact assessments and retrospective reviews).
- Techniques for encouraging regulatory compatibility and regulatory cooperation.
- Private advisory committees.
- Information quality.
- Public suggestions for improvements to regulations.
- Consideration of effects on small businesses.
The chapter includes extensive transparency requirements to publish:
- Key information online, including draft regulations (notice and comment), annual regulatory agendas, and descriptions of regulatory agencies’ functions and legal authorities.
- Applicable forms used by regulatory agencies.
- Fees associated with licensing, inspection, audits, etc.
- Judicial or administrative procedures available to challenge regulations.
The Digital Trade chapter:
- Prohibits the application of customs duties and other discriminatory measures on digital products distributed electronically, such as ebooks, videos, music, software, and games.
- Ensures that data can be transferred across borders.*
- Promotes compatibility between different approaches to protecting personal information and recognizes the APEC Cross Border Privacy Rules system as a valid mechanism to facilitate cross-border information transfers while protecting personal information.
- Facilitates digital transactions by permitting the use of electronic authentication and electronic signatures, while protecting consumers’ and businesses’ confidential information and guaranteeing that enforceable consumer protections are applied to the digital marketplace.
- Cracks down on data localization measures used to restrict where data can be stored and processed, enhancing and protecting the global digital ecosystem.
- Promotes collaboration in addressing cybersecurity challenges.
- Protects against forced disclosure of proprietary computer source code and algorithms.
- Promotes open access to government-generated public data.
- Enhances the viability of internet platforms that depend on interaction between users by limiting civil liability for third-party content, except regarding intellectual property enforcement.
- Guarantees enforceable consumer protections apply to the digital marketplace, including those for privacy and unsolicited communication such as spam.
* Subject to a transition period.
The Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SME) chapter:
- Promotes cooperation to increase opportunities for SME trade and investment.
- Establishes information-sharing tools that will help SMEs to better understand the benefits of the agreement and provide other information useful to SMEs doing business in the region.
- Creates a committee on SME issues comprised of government officials from each country.
- Launches a new framework for an ongoing SME Dialogue with stakeholders to help ensure that SMEs continue to benefit from the agreement.
Additional Cross-Cutting USMCA Provisions That Will Benefit SMEs:
- The Customs and Trade Facilitation Chapter will help reduce costs and bring greater ease and predictability to cross-border transactions, including thorough provisions requiring online publication of laws, regulations, contact information, tariffs, taxes, and other fees. The chapter includes an expanded scope of advanced rulings by customs authorities, provisions requiring an online searchable database for customs information, and expedited release of express shipments.
- The Digital Trade Chapter contains the strongest provisions of any international agreement and prohibits customs duties on products distributed electronically, supporting internet-enabled small businesses and e-commerce exports.
- The Intellectual Property Chapter provides strong and effective protection and enforcement of IP rights critical to driving innovation, creating economic growth, and supporting American jobs. The chapter requires Parties to cut red tape in obtaining protection of IP rights, including by streamlining application procedures that impose disproportionate burdens on SMEs.
- The Cross-Border Trade in Services Chapter benefits SMEs by eliminating the unnecessary requirement to open a foreign office as a condition of doing business. It also includes a new provision encouraging Parties to consider the effects of regulatory actions on SME service suppliers and to avoid authorization procedures that impose disproportionate burdens on SMEs.
- The Good Regulatory Practices Chapter sets forth good governance procedures to promote transparency and accountability in the development and implementation of regulations. It includes provisions encouraging Parties to take into consideration the effect of new regulations on SMEs in order to reduce or eliminate unnecessarily burdensome, duplicative, or divergent regulatory requirements.
The Labor chapter:
- Incorporates USMCA labor provisions into the core text of the agreement and are fully enforceable, subject to dispute resolution.
- Requires Parties to adopt and maintain in law and practice core labor standards as recognized by the International Labor Organization, including freedom of association and the right to strike, to effectively enforce their labor laws, and not to waive or derogate from their labor laws.
- Prohibits the importation of goods produced by forced labor, including forced child labor.
- Requires the Parties to ensure migrant workers are protected under labor laws.
- Includes first-of-its-kind language requiring parties to address violence against workers for exercising their labor rights.
- Provides expanded guarantees for the enforcement of labor laws.
- Provides due process through independent and impartial judicial and administrative tribunals backed by dispute settlement.
- Makes obligations more easily enforceable by clarifying the meaning of “manner affecting trade” and “sustained or recurring.”
Annex on worker representation and collective bargaining in Mexico:
- Requires Mexico to overhaul its system of labor justice.
- Includes specific legislative actions that Mexico must take to reform its system of labor justice and provide for the effective recognition of the right to collectively bargain and guarantees secret ballot votes by workers on collective bargaining agreements.
- Requires Mexico to create the conditions for real union democracy, including personal, free, and secret ballot votes on electing and challenging union leadership and to demonstrate worker support for collective bargaining agreements which creates conditions for fairer competition between U.S. and Mexican workers.