Coronavirus Government Response Update—Date Set for USMCA Trade Pact

April 28, 2020 Coronavirus Government Response Update—Date Set for USMCA Trade Pact

Welcome to the Coronavirus Government Response Update. This information is intended to keep ISSA members up to date on fast-moving government affairs related to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as other public policy issues important to the cleaning industry. Today’s update touches on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade agreement, delays in the relaunch of the small-business relief program, Congress setting a return date, and more.

New USMCA Trade Pact to Go into Effect July 1
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said he has notified Congress that the new UUSCMA will take effect on July 1, a month later than initially proposed. In a statement, Lighthizer said both Mexico and Canada had taken measures necessary to comply with their commitments under the trade agreement, which replaces the 26-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement. Some industries had argued for a delayed implementation because of the difficulties they are facing from the coronavirus pandemic.

Gears Jammed Again During Relaunch of Small-Business Relief Program
The relaunch of a U.S. government relief program for small firms got off to a rocky start with lenders reporting being shut out of the overwhelmed U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) system amid a flood of loan applications and concerns about when struggling companies will get the funding they need. The SBA said that “unprecedented demand” was slowing down its loan-processing platform and that there were double the number of users accessing the system compared with any day during the initial round of funding that ended April 16.

Both Chambers of Congress to Return May 4, Despite Pandemic Recommendations
Both chambers of Congress will return to the Capitol for regular legislative session on May 4, which is 11 days before the current stay-at-home order in Washington, D.C. expires. “Senators will return to Washington D.C. one week from today. We will modify routines in ways that are smart and safe, but we will honor our constitutional duty to the American people and conduct critical business in person,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement.

Americans Poisoning Themselves in Their Rush to Fight Virus
Poisonings related to cleaners and disinfectants surged in the U.S. last month as the global pandemic spurred a haphazard rush to disinfect everything. Calls to state and local poison control centers tied to cleaners and disinfectants rose 20% in the first quarter to 45,550, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Complaints included shortness of breath from inhalation and dizziness and vomiting from ingestion.

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