Global Matters

Visa welcomes progress on United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)

Agreement establishes high-standard rules of global trade to facilitate access, inclusion and innovation in digital payments

Split screen of person holding Visa credit card making a purchase on a computer and a small shop owner checking his inventory.

 

Payments is a fundamentally different business today than it was when Visa was founded more than 60 years ago. Advances in technology – in particular the advent of the internet and mobile phone – and economic globalization have transformed commerce in ways that would have been unimaginable then. Today’s consumers are no longer constrained to buy only from stores in their immediate town, city or even in their own country. An artisan in Atlanta can make a sale to a customer in Puebla, Mexico with the same ease as a potential customer in Portland, Oregon. E-commerce now accounts for the fastest-growing segment in cross-border payments[1] and is expected to be a critical driver of future growth in digital payments across the world.

Today’s announcement of alignment between the Trump Administration and Democrats in the House of Representatives on key principles of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) marks a significant step in providing a much-needed and groundbreaking update to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to anchor it in the realities of the 21st century economy. At Visa, on behalf of our nearly 11,000 workers across North America, we welcome the refreshed agreement.

It includes a first-of-its-kind commitment that specifically prohibits governments from discriminating against U.S. firms in the electronic payment services (EPS) sector. The USMCA also contains a series of new rules on digital trade that prohibit data localization requirements and protect the flow of data across borders, while preserving each government’s right to protect its citizens from privacy violations and fraudulent practices. These gold-standard commitments will ensure an open and competitive environment that offers consumers the most choice, allows the latest innovations to come to market faster, supports the development of small businesses and fintechs, and best facilitates financial inclusion across all populations.

“Visa congratulates U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal for their tireless work and leadership in achieving this breakthrough, and paving the way for the USMCA to be considered by the full Congress,” said Visa Chairman and CEO Al Kelly. “This cutting-edge agreement puts North America in a leadership role to shape the global rules of the digital economy and, as Speaker Pelosi has said, provides ‘a template for future trade agreements.’ We look forward to Congress moving expeditiously on the implementing legislation.”

 

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[1] McKinsey & Co., Global Payments Report 2019, p. 6, https://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/McKinsey/Industries/Financial%20Services/Our%20Insights/Tracking%20the%20sources%20of%20robust%20payments%20growth%20McKinsey%20Global%20Payments%20Map/McK-2019-Global-Payments-Report.ashx.

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