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  7. U.S. – Mexico – Canada Agreement (USMCA) Frequently Asked Questions

U.S. – Mexico – Canada Agreement (USMCA) Frequently Asked Questions

The U.S. – Mexico – Canada Agreement (USMCA) is a trade agreement between the three named countries.  When implemented, it will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Please note: in Canada, this agreement is referred to as the Canada – United States – Mexico Agreement (CUSMA); in Mexico, this agreement is referred to as Tratado entre México, Estados Unidos y Canadá (T-MEC).  All three names refer to the same trade agreement.

The Agreement between the United States of America, Mexico, and Canada (USMCA) was entered into force on July, 1, 2020, under the USMCA Implementation Act, H.R. 5430; Public Law 116-113.  It replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which was in force from January 1, 1994 to June 30, 2020. 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)  created the USMCA Center to communicate USMCA requirements to both CBP personnel and external stakeholders.  Information can be found on the USMCA website (U.S. – Mexico – Canada Agreement (USMCA) | U.S. Customs and Border Protection (cbp.gov))

The trade community must also exercise reasonable care.  Documents are available (links provided below) and should be read to gain an understanding of the guidelines and requirements necessary to make a USMCA claim:

CBP will continue to distribute compliance guidance and other information as needed. If additional guidance is needed you may contact the  Centers of Excellence and Expertise Directory | U.S. Customs and Border Protection (cbp.gov) , the USMCA Center, or apply for a binding ruling https://help.cbp.gov/s/article/Article-280.

The U.S. – Mexico – Canada Agreement (USMCA) does not require a specific certificate of origin as did the North American Free Trade Agreement.  There is no required certificate of origin form for USMCA.  The CBP Form 434 is no longer in use.   

A claim for preferential treatment under the USMCA should contain nine minimum data elements.  These data elements are set out in the USMCA’s Annex 5-A (Minimum Data Elements) and constitute a Certification of Origin. They must indicate that the good claiming preferential treatment originates and meets the requirements of USMCA Chapter 5.  This information may be provided on an invoice or any other document. The information must describe the originating good in sufficient detail to enable its identification and meet the requirements as set out in the Uniform Regulations.  

Per USMCA Annex 5-A, the data elements are: 

  1. Importer, Exporter, or Producer Certification of Origin 

  1. Certifier 

  1. Exporter 

  1. Producer 

  1. Importer 

  1. Description and HS Classification of the Good 

  1. Origin Criteria 

  1. Blanket Period (if applicable) 

  1. Authorized Signature and Date 

For more information, see Chapter 5 Origin Procedures, Article 5.2 and Annex 5-A

An optional certification of origin template for the USMCA and other trade agreements has been made available U.S. Customs and Border Protection and is available on CBP.gov.

On March 16, 2020, CBP launched a working group for the U.S. – Mexico – Canada Agreement (USMCA) under the Commercial Operations Advisory Council (COAC).  Additional information on COAC can be found at https://www.cbp.gov/trade/stakeholder-engagement/coac.

In addition, CBP’s USMCA Coordination Center will support CBP’s cross-agency and interdepartmental efforts to implement the Agreement.  For questions not answered by the FAQ’s, you may contact USMCA@cbp.dhs.gov

Importers should communicate with their assigned Centers of Excellence and Expertise regarding their specific importations. For more information see https://www.cbp.gov/trade/centers-excellence-and-expertise-information.

The U.S. – Mexico – Canada Agreement (USMCA) requires a “joint review” of the Agreement six years after entry-into-force.  At this joint review, the Parties will review the operation of this Agreement, review any recommendations for action submitted by a Party, and decide on any appropriate actions.

For more information, see USMCA, Article 34.7: “Review and Term Extension”.

The USMCA defines a textile and apparel good as “textile or apparel good classified in HS subheading 4202.12, 4202.22, 4202.32, or 4202.92 (luggage, handbags and similar articles with an outer surface of textile materials), heading 50.04 through 50.07, 51.04 through 51.13, 52.04 through 52.12, 53.03 through 53.11, Chapter 54 through 63, heading 66.01 (umbrellas) or heading 70.19 (yarns and fabrics of glass fiber), subheading 9404.90 (articles of bedding and similar furnishing), or heading 96.19 (babies diapers and other sanitary textile articles).” Select here to see Chapter 1 Initial Provisions and General Definitions.

The USMCA will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is the United States’ lead implementing agency with respect to the USMCA. To this end, CBP has launched an internal USMCA Coordination Center, which will ensure, coordinate, and guide the implementation of the USMCA for CBP and our stakeholders.

CBP will communicate with trade stakeholders throughout the implementation process as we transition from NAFTA to USMCA. 

On March 16, 2020, CBP launched a working group for the U.S. – Mexico – Canada Agreement (USMCA) under the Commercial Operations Advisory Council (COAC).  Additional information on COAC can be found at https://www.cbp.gov/trade/stakeholder-engagement/coac.

In addition, CBP’s USMCA Coordination Center will support CBP’s cross-agency and interdepartmental efforts to implement the Agreement. 

Importers should communicate with their assigned Centers of Excellence and Expertise regarding their specific importations. For more information see https://www.cbp.gov/trade/centers-excellence-and-expertise-information.

CBP will continue to distribute compliance guidance and other information in support of USMCA.

USMCA entered into force July 1, 2020.  All NAFTA rules are expired except for automotive products.   The S or S+ special program indicator (SPI) should be used for all USMCA claims.  NAFTA’s SPI (CA or MX) indicator is only valid for claims on merchandise that was entered prior to USMCA’s entry into force.

For automotive products under headings 87.01 through 87.08, there is a transitional period for up to three years, and alternative staging regime options (coordinated by the U.S. Trade Representative) for up to five years. For more information see USMCA Ch. 4 – Rules of Origin.

 

CBP is coordinating with the U.S. Department of Labor on the verification process of USMCA claims on automotive goods. The rules of origin for such goods include the new criterion of Labor Value Content, which requires that a specified percentage of a vehicle’s value be derived from manufacturing facilities that pay an average wage of at least $16 USD per hour.   

The U.S. Department of Labor will assess the wage practices of the manufacturing facilities involved in the production of such vehicles and their components. This information will be used in CBP’s calculation of Labor Value Content. Additional guidance on compliance with this new requirement is pending.

CBP will ensure implementing instructions and other compliance guidance are available in advance of the Agreement entering into force.

In the interim, please read and review the Agreement text to determine if your import qualifies as an originating good under the USMCA.  Resources include:

Revised tariff shift rules maintain the basic concepts established under NAFTA with a few modifications. These rules allow manufacturers to use textile inputs not generally available in North America (such as rayon fibers and visible lining fabric).

The USMCA modifies the chapter rules for goods classified in HTS chapters 61 and 62.

The USMCA increases the de minimis percentage of non-originating inputs allowed in qualifying goods from 7 to 10 percent (within the overall 10% cap, the total weight of elastomeric content may not exceed 7%).

Other changes under the USMCA require that sewing thread, pocketing fabric, narrow elastic bands, and coated fabric used in the production of apparel be made in North America in order for those products to be treated as originating (under the current NAFTA, these items can be sourced from outside the region – USMCA ensures these secondary components originate within the region). 

The USMCA establishes a Textiles chapter for North American trade, including textile-specific verification and customs cooperation provisions that provide new tools for strengthening customs enforcement and preventing fraud.

The USMCA reduces some TPLs for US imports from Canada and Mexico while substantially increasing TPLs for US exports to Canada of apparel and other finished textile goods.

The USMCA contains new criteria for the Rules of Origin for automotive and automotive part imports.  These new criteria include increases in the regional value content, new North American steel and aluminum procurement requirements, and labor value content.  These new criteria will require additional attention by importers to ensure compliance.  For more information see USMCA Ch. 4 – Rules of Origin

Other impacted industry groups include manufactured goods, textile and apparel, and ]agricultural good sectors.  Additional information is available via the International Trade Commission.

United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement: Likely Impact on the U.S. Economy and Specific Industry Sectors; ITC Publication No. 4889; Investigation No. TPA 105-003

The USMCA includes provisions to exclude a certain quantity of Mexican and Canadian automobiles and automobile parts from any Section 232 trade remedy actions. For more information see USMCA Side Letters at the links below:

For agricultural goods, the USMCA maintains NAFTA’s zero-tariff treatment and includes adjustments to tariff-rate quota volumes to provide greater U.S. access to Canadian dairy, poultry, and egg markets.

For more information see USMCA Ch. 3 – Agriculture

The USMCA prohibits Parties from applying unnecessary restrictions on imports of remanufactured goods.  If a Party adopts or maintains a prohibition or a restriction on a used good, it shall not apply the measure to a remanufactured good.

For more information see USMCA Ch. 4 – Rules of Origin, Article 4.4

The USMCA contains no distinction between new and used automotive goods. All importers seeking USMCA preferential treatment for automotive goods must meet the USMCA's automotive rules of origin provisions.  See CSMS #45309245 - USMCA - Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021 & End of Restrained Enforcement

The USMCA requires new criteria for automotive goods that are not present in NAFTA, including:

  • Increased Regional Value Content from 62.5% to 75%, increased in stages over a period three years.
  • Labor Value Content (40-45% percent of the value of the imported automobile must be sourced from manufacturing facilities where workers earn at least $16 USD per hour.  The U.S. Department of Labor will be performing the assessment of manufacturing facility eligibility, with CBP determining value of the parts, the overall automobile, and the overall Labor Value Content determination.
  • Steel and Aluminum (At least 70% of a vehicle producer’s annual steel and aluminum procurement must originate from North America).

CBP will issue compliance guidance in advance of implementation.  For more information select USMCA Ch. 4 – Rules of Origin.

CBP will verify compliance of the USMCA’s automotive rules of origin.  CBP will work with the U.S. Department of Labor on the calculation of Labor Value Content.

CBP is a participant on the Committee on Trade In Automotive Goods Under Section 202a of the USMCA Implementation Act, led by the U.S. Trade Representative, to finalize processes under the USMCA for automotive goods. (For more information see Executive Order).

Additional guidance will be distributed in advance of implementation.

The USMCA contains new provisions to combat AD/CVD evasion, commitments to interdict transshipped IPR infringing goods, prohibitions on the importation of goods sourced from forced labor, and requirements to prevent illegal taking of wild flora and fauna (including timber).

New enforcement tools will expand confidential trade data sharing; increase joint analysis, investigations and operations; and facilitate facility verification visits to assess production capacity.

For more information see USMCA Ch. 7 – “Customs Administration and Trade Facilitation”

Many of the provisions of the USMCA are awaiting final implementation guidance from the U.S. Trade Representative or are under development. 

No.  The USMCA does not require a specific certificate of origin form. Rather, it requires nine specific data elements, which can be presented in any format, similar to other more modern trade agreements that were implemented subsequent to NAFTA [See USMCA Ch. 5 ‘Origin Procedures,’ Art. 5.2 (Claims for Preferential Tariff Treatment) and Annex 5-A (Minimum Data Elements)].  To avoid confusion, the CBP Form 434 will no longer be accepted for claims of preferential treatment under the USMCA. Even if the rule of origin for the subject good is the same under NAFTA and USMCA and all of USMCA’s required data elements are present on Form 434, the good needs to be recertified under USMCA. 

Yes, so long as the producer or exporter is the certifier.  Please see 19 CFR 182.12(a)(4)(v).

Yes, so long as the exporter or importer is the certifier. Please see 19 CFR 182.12(a)(4)(iv) and 19 CFR 182.12(c).”

Yes, USCMA claims may be made on a good of U.S. origin, provided it satisfies its applicable rule of origin and all other requirements of the Agreement have been met.

Please refer to the USMCA Rules of Origin found within General Note 11 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). 

https://hts.usitc.gov/view/General%20Notes?release=2021HTSABasicRev8

 

For further guidance, you may reach out to one of our Centers Excellence and Expertise. Please refer to:

Centers of Excellence and Expertise Directory | U.S. Customs and Border Protection (cbp.gov)

 

You may also submit a CBP Ruling Request.   

https://help.cbp.gov/s/article/Article-280.

SPI “S” is used for the vast majority of claims for USMCA preferential tariff treatment. SPI “S+” is used for certain agricultural goods, as well as for non-originating textile and apparel goods that are entered pursuant to tariff preference level (TPL) provisions. The Harmonized Tariff Schedule provides clarity on when “S” vs. “S+” is to be used. The most recent version of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States may be accessed via the U.S. International Trade Commission’s website at https://hts.usitc.gov/current (Chapter 98 Section 23 specifically regarding USMCA quota).

A certification of origin is not required for: (1) a non-commercial importation of a good, or (2) a commercial importation for which the value of the originating goods does not exceed US $2,500, provided the importation does not form part of a series of importations that may be considered to have been undertaken or arranged for purposes of evading United States laws, regulations, or procedures governing claims for preferential treatment. Note that even if the value of non-originating goods is less than US $2,500, a written statement certifying that the goods originate may still be required. Further, if CBP determines that an importation is part of a series of importations carried out or planned for purposes of evading compliance with preference requirements, the importer may be required to submit a certification of origin.

No, just as with the NAFTA, post importation claims for the USMCA can only be made via a properly filed claim pursuant to 19 U.S.C. §1520(d). 

Title VI, Sec. 601(e) of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 authorizes refunds of MPF on approved USMCA post-importation claims, and is retroactive to July 1, 2020.  See CSMS #45309245 - USMCA - Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021 & End of Restrained Enforcement 

For guidance on how to pursue a merchandise processing fee refund via a 520(d) protest, please  visit CBP’s ACE Entry Summary Business Rules, Sections 12 and 17

For guidance on how to pursue a merchandise processing fee refund via Reconciliation, please visit CBP’s Reconciliation External Guidance, CBP Pub. No. 1197-082, p.14 

Some tariff items do not have product-specific rules of origin because the USMCA was negotiated using the 2012 HS.  If the good in question corresponds to a tariff item without a product-specific rule, until a rule is implemented, the analysis should be performed using the 2012 HTSUS tariff item and its corresponding product-specific rule.  The 2012 HTSUS is available at www.usitc.gov

Refer to the How to Make a USMCA Claim webinar.

For information on basic importing and exporting refer to https://www.cbp.gov/trade/basic-import-export

You may want to contact a licensed customs broker:  https://www.cbp.gov/contact/find-broker-by-port.

For USMCA eligibility refer to USMCA Rules of Origin found within General Note 11 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS)

https://hts.usitc.gov/view/General%20Notes?release=2021HTSABasicRev8.

Articles exported for repair or alteration do not have to originate to qualify for USMCA preferential duty treatment.   Post importation claims for non-originating goods are not allowed via 19 USC 1520(d) claims.  The mechanisms for such claims include post summary corrections for unliquidated entries and 19 USC 1514 claims for liquidated entries.

You may import a car from Canada or Mexico.  However, vehicles produced prior to 2020 are not likely to meet all USMCA rules of origin. Vehicles produced on or after July 1, 2020, may meet the USMCA rules of origin. Under the USMCA Implementation Act, there are three vehicle certifications that must be provided by the producer of the covered vehicle. An exporter or importer of record/owner, who is not the producer, may not have the necessary documentation to make a preference claim unless that party was provided the documentation from the producer. If these documents are not made available upon request, then applicable duties and fees will be collected on either personal or commercial importations of used vehicles from Canada and Mexico.  For more information, see the Importing a Motor Vehicle webpage. https://www.cbp.gov/trade/basic-import-export/importing-car

Please refer to 19 CFR 182.32(b), which states:  A post-importation claim for a refund must be filed by presentation of the following:


(1) A written or electronic declaration or statement stating that the good was an originating good at the time of importation and setting forth the number and date of the entry or entries covering the good;
(2) A copy of a written or electronic certification of origin prepared in accordance with § 182.12 demonstrating that the good qualifies for preferential tariff treatment;
(3) A written statement indicating whether the importer of the good provided a copy of the entry summary or equivalent documentation to any other person. If such documentation was so provided, the statement must identify each recipient by name, CBP identification number, and address and must specify the date on which the documentation was provided; and
(4) A written statement indicating whether or not any person has filed a protest, petition, or request for reliquidation; and if any such protest, petition, or request for reliquidation has been filed, the statement must identify the filing by number and date.

When claiming USMCA on an import, the SPI (Special Program Indicator) of “S” should be claimed. This is reflected in the “Special” sub column of Column 1 of the HTSUS. A SPI of “S+” is also available for certain agricultural goods subject to tariff-rate quotas (TRQs) and textile goods subject to tariff preference levels (TPLs).

 

USMCA allows the certification of origin to be completed by the importer, exporter, or producer.

 

De Minimis (Non-Textiles) – allows goods to qualify as originating if it contains no more than 10% of non-originating materials, including items subject to RVC requirements

 

Transit and Transshipment (Imported Directly) –products retain status if transported without passing through non-Party OR (1) remains under customs control AND (2) does not undergo operation other than those necessary to preserve condition or transport the good

 

Treatment of Sets – This is new to USMCA – a set classified pursuant to GRI 3 is originating if (1) each good in set is originating; OR (2) total value of non-originating goods does not exceed 10% of value of set; and both the set and goods meet all other requirements.

Petroleum Industry

 USMCA’s product-specific rule of origin for natural gas, set out in General Note 11(o) of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), indicates that liquefied natural gas that has been regasified within the USMCA territory is to be considered originating. Pursuant to USMCA, Article 5.2, an importer is permitted to complete a USMCA certification of origin in support of a claim for preferential tariff treatment. CBP may verify this claim through information that demonstrates the good originates in the territory of the one or more of the Parties. In some instances, CBP may require that importers demonstrate that their goods do not contain prohibited materials in accordance with USMCA’s Market Access provisions (see USMCA, Article 2.11.3). 

As with all importer obligations, importers of record are required to exercise reasonable care to ensure imported merchandise complies with all laws and regulations. Trade stakeholders may seek formal guidance from CBP pursuant to 19 CFR 177, Administrative Rulings. CBP issues binding advance rulings and other legal decisions in connection with the importation of merchandise into the United States. Advance rulings provide the international trade community with a transparent and efficient means of understanding how CBP will treat a prospective import or carrier transaction. Details about CBP rulings and how to submit a request can be found at www.cbp.gov/trade/rulings/

No, the monthly entry filing procedures remain the same. 

Pursuant to HTSUS, General Note 11(o), Chapter 27, Note 4, a good of heading 2709 is originating if the origin of diluent of heading 2709 or 2710 that is used to facilitate the transportation between Parties of crude petroleum oils and crude oils obtained from bituminous minerals of heading 2709 is disregarded, provided that the diluent constitutes no more than 40 percent by volume of the good. Importers should have documents kept in the ordinary course of business that CBP can review to verify compliance with this Note. 

As with all importer obligations, importers of record are required to exercise reasonable care to ensure imported merchandise complies with all laws and regulations. Trade stakeholders may seek formal guidance from CBP pursuant to 19 CFR 177, Administrative Rulings. CBP issues binding advance rulings and other legal decisions in connection with the importation of merchandise into the United States. Advance rulings provide the international trade community with a transparent and efficient means of understanding how CBP will treat a prospective import or carrier transaction. Details about CBP rulings and how to submit a request can be found at www.cbp.gov/trade/rulings/.  

Foreign Trade Zone

Under NAFTA rules of origin, non-originating goods used in production processes in foreign trade zones (FTZ) could not qualify as originating as a result of that processing. See 19 U.S.C. 3332(a)(2)(A). Specifically, the special rule applicable to FTZs prohibited non-originating goods used in production processes within FTZs, that are entered for consumption in the customs territory of the United States, from ever qualifying as originating goods even if all conditions under the general rules were otherwise satisfied.

Initially, this prohibition was not incorporated into the USMCA Implementation Act [Pub. Law No: 116-113 (January 29, 2020)]. However, Title VI, Sec. 601(b) of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 now applies the above described FTZ special rule of origin to the USMCA. See 19 U.S.C. 4531(c)(3), see also CSMS #45309245 - USMCA - Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021 & End of Restrained Enforcement.

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  • Last Modified: September 14, 2022