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U.S., Canada agree on free trade pact

The agreement replaces the 25-year-old NAFTA, which Trump had threatened to cancel

  • Canada and the U.S. reached a deadline deal on a new free trade pact that will include Mexico after more than a year of talks to revamp a pact President Donald Trump had labelled a disaster.
  • The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) updates and replaces the nearly 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which Trump had threatened to cancel.
  • The rewrite “will result in freer markets, fairer trade and robust economic growth in our region.

North American Free Trade Agreement

  • NAFTA is an agreement signed by Canada, Mexico, and the United States, creating a trilateral trade bloc in North America.
  • The agreement came into force on January 1, 1994. It superseded the 1988 Canada–United States Free Trade Agreement between the U.S. and Canada, and is set to be replaced by the 2018 United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement.
  • NAFTA has two supplements: the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC) and the North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation (NAALC).
  • On September 30, 2018, it was announced that the United States, Mexico, and Canada had come to an agreement to replace NAFTA with the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA).
  • The USMCA is the result of the renegotiation of NAFTA that the member states undertook from 2017 to 2018, though NAFTA will remain in force until the USMCA is ratified by its members.

PradhanMantriFasalBimaYojna (PMFBY)

  • Gram Sabhas across the country have been asked to inform the farmers about the enrolment and benefits of PradhanMantriFasalBimaYojan (PMFBY) at the beginning of the Rabi Season.
  • The Gram Sabhas will also inform the farmers on how they can insure their crops under the Scheme.

First season for PMFBY with its revised operational guidelines:

  • The companies to reduce premium rates, especially as the general cut-off date for enrolment has been advanced by 15 days for both seasons.
  • The farmers get 72 hours to intimate individual claims against the existing 48 hours.
  • This can be done through any of the channels provided under the Scheme and directly on the portal of PMFBY.
  • The farmers can access dedicated grievance redressal authorities.
  • Revised operational guidelines provide for appointment of District Level Grievance Redressal Officer and creation of State and District Grievance Redressal Cells for fast redressal of grievances.
  • Non-loanee farmers can approach designated Common Service Centres, banks and insurance agents for insuring their crops or directly enrol on the portal.
  • Farmers who avail short term crop loans from formal financial institutions at concessional rates of interest are automatically covered under the Scheme.