The name game: NAFTA replacement USMCA spurs confusion, jokes
The trade agreement reached Sunday night between Canada, Mexico and the United States isn’t just notable for its contents, but also for its name.
The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which has been in effect since 1994. The two agreements are largely the same, with some of the most notable changes being around automotive rules of origin and foreign access to Canada’s dairy market.
Changing the name of the deal seemed to occupy the thoughts of U.S. President Donald Trump during the months-long negotiation process about as much as more substantive modifications to the agreement.
“We’ll be changing the name. We don’t want NAFTA. NAFTA’s been very bad for our country,” Trump said earlier this month as negotiations were ongoing.
Anti-NAFTA comments were a large part of Trump’s rhetoric in 2016, during his presidential campaign. He repeatedly criticized the deal as being bad for American farmers in particular.
Analysts have said that changing the name of the deal is a move geared toward public perception of free trade in the U.S., and will have little political or economic impact in either Canada or Mexico.
On social media, the name change was met with a mix of confusion and jokes.
Some Twitter users noted the USMCA’s name as being consistent with Trump’s “America first” mentality and similar to the abbreviation for the U.S. Marine Corps.
Others noted that they were unsure how to pronounce USMCA and that rearranging the order of the countries would have resulted in the more pronounceable options of MUSCA and CUSMA.
The new name also made some Twitter users think of songs such as “Y.M.C.A.” by Village People and the “Mickey Mouse March”, which has served as the theme song for various TV shows starring Mickey Mouse.
People do realize that, as the only country whose acronym includes a vowel, the US should have been in the middle of the name of the new trade agreement? Try saying USMCA.— Craig Forcese (@cforcese) October 1, 2018
New name (USMCA) not to be confused with the little-known, seldom used 242 year old USMC, of course. No similarity there. Nope, nope, nope. pic.twitter.com/UIgjObwXuY— Laura Heidy (@AudacityOfHate) October 1, 2018
#USMCA ... so how do you pronounce this trilateral agreement? us-muh-ca? us-mca? us-mc-ah? Inquiring minds want to know— Greer Meisels (@GreerMeisels) October 1, 2018
So USA, Canada & Mexico have a new NAFTA or USMCA or better known as the YMCA... The Yankee , Mexican & Canadian Agreement. pic.twitter.com/phVTSjfXTQ— Mark Trowman (@marktrowman) October 1, 2018
USMCA in Canada is pronounced the French way, we say NAFTA— Will Fowler (@thefutureyousee) October 1, 2018
If Yemen (instead of the USA) was part of the new NAFTA agreement, the name of the new agreement would be YMCA ♂️♀️♀️♀️#USMCA— Melania Marin (@marinrex) October 1, 2018