What will USMCA mean for you?

The North American Free Trade Agreement is no more.

Canada has reached a new trade deal with the U.S. and Mexico dubbed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement.

But what will it mean for the average consumer? Here are a couple of highlights from the experts:


The new deal gives the U.S. greater access to Canada's dairy and poultry market

International Trade Lawyer Mark Warner tells NEWSTALK 1010's Moore in the Morning, "that's good. We'll get cheaper cheese and dairy."

Canadian dairy farmers are not happy though. Dairy Farmers of Canada issued a statement soon after the agreement was announced.

It says the deal will grant greater market access to the domestic dairy market and eliminate competitive dairy classes, which the group says will shrink the Canadian industry.

The lobby group says the measures will have ``a dramatic impact not only for dairy farmers but for the whole sector,'' adding that it fails ``to see how this deal can be good for the 220,000 Canadian families that depend on dairy for their livelihood.''

VP and Deputy Chief Economist for Scotia Bank, Brett House thinks the impact on prices at the grocery store will be minimal. He tells Moore in the Morning, "it may mean marginally greater choice in those sections of the supermarket and possibly, marginally lower prices. But the extra access being provided isn't huge."


Canadians can buy more online

House says the new deal increases the amount of foreign merchandise Canadians can buy online before being charged duties. He says the duty-free limit is going up from $20 to $150. The limit before sales tax is imposed will move from $20 to $40 dollars.

"If you're just ordering a shirt or a sweater or something like that from the states, that's going to come in duty free," House explains. "For anything bigger or better than that, it doesn't really change things."


Changes to pharmaceutical patent protections

The new deal includes changes to patent protections for pharmaceuticals which could mean higher prices for drugs in Canada.

BNN Bloomberg reporter Jameson Berkow tells Moore in the Morning, as a result,  generic drugs may lose some market share.

"That's how Canada has been able to have, by and large, cheaper pharmaceuticals," he says.


Potentially higher interest rates

Berkow says the Bank of Canada has been holding off on raising rates because of the uncertainty surrounding trade with the U.S.

Now, he says, "it clears the path for the Bank of Canada to raise interest rates, possibly faster...and to a higher level."

"Anybody with a car loan, a line of credit, or a variable rate mortgage; they're going to feel the impact of this, probably immediately."
 

With files from the Canadian Press