The Mexico-United States-Canada Treaty (USMCA) will have various US funds to monitor the protection of the environment.
Pursuant to the Agreement of last December 10, the implementing legislation includes an additional $ 20 million allocated over four years for the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to lead the Intersecretary Environmental Committee in monitoring and compliance with environmental obligations in USMCA, including the financing of the three environmental aggregates assigned to Mexico.
In addition, the Dec. 10 Agreement secured $ 40 million over four years for the Trade Control Trust Fund to be used for environmentally focused compliance efforts.
The December 10 Agreement also included additional funds, beyond what is normally allocated for each program per year, to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Inspection Service of Animal and Plant Health (APHIS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Specifically, $ 4 million will be allocated over four years to EPA to assist in its work at the Commission for Environmental Cooperation; NOAA will receive an additional $ 8 million over four years to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and to improve the implementation of the Import Seafood Monitoring Program; and the USDA and the Department of the Interior (DOI, through the US Fish and Wildlife Services) will receive an additional $ 4 million over four years to implement the Lacey Act.
USMCA and the environment
The Intersecretary Environmental Committee will include all federal agencies with the experience and functions necessary to fully enforce the environmental obligations of the USMCA, including the DOI, the Department of Commerce (through the NOAA), and the EPA.
First, the Intersecretary Environmental Committee will conduct a comprehensive assessment of the current environmental laws, regulations, and enforcement practices of Canada and Mexico.
The Environment Committee will develop a report that will create a roadmap for full compliance with the environmental obligations of the USMCA and will present the report and evaluation to the United States Congress.
The Intersecretary Environmental Committee will continuously monitor the implementation of the environmental obligations of the USMCA by Canada and Mexico.
Monitoring will include reviewing and recommending compliance actions in response to factual records and submissions from the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), a cooperation agency between Mexico and Canada established under the North American Free Trade Agreement ( NAFTA).
Measures and supervision
Since NAFTA was implemented, the CEC has developed factual records showing that NAFTA Parties are not effectively applying their environmental laws.
Under the Dec. 10 Agreement, the Intersecretary Environmental Committee must review the factual records and their underlying submissions to determine if a compliance measure should be taken.
The Intersecretary Environmental Committee must present a written justification to the US Congress if it recommends that no action be taken.
In addition, with respect to Mexico, the Intersecretary Environmental Committee will implement, review public comments, and fully utilize all compliance tools under the Customs Cooperation and Verification Agreement between the United States and Mexico (‘Customs Verification Agreement) and will review the update of reports of the three new environmental aggregates in Mexico.
The December 10 Agreement includes the establishment of three new environmental attachés that will be detailed to the USTR by NOAA, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the EPA, and installed in Mexico to help the Interinstitutional Environmental Committee to monitor and enforce Mexico’s efforts to meet its environmental obligations under the USMCA.
The Intersecretary Environmental Committee will provide a platform for better coordination, utilization, and financing of the efforts of the United States government to strengthen environmental practices in North America.