Lesson Plan: Replacing NAFTA: The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)

President Trump Announces the United States-Canada-Mexico Agreement

President Trump announced a new trade agreement with Mexico and Canada. If approved by the legislatures in all three countries, the USMCA would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement.


This lesson looks at the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) which replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement. Students will view video clips of policymakers discussing the impact of NAFTA, the components of the USMCA and strengths and weakness of the new agreement. Using this information, students will develop arguments for or against the passage of the agreement.


  • WARM-UP:

    Before beginning the lesson, have the students either define or have a general understanding of the following terms. These terms will be used throughout the lesson.

    • Export

    • Free Trade

    • Gross Domestic Product

    • Import

    • Labor

    • Tariff

    • Labor

    Using the following video clips, introduce the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Students should view each video clip and answer the questions associated with them. Students can use the handout linked below.

    Handout: The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) (Google Doc)

  • Video Clip 1: President Trump Announces the United States-Canada-Mexico Agreement (3:09)

    • What reasons does President Trump provide for needing to replace NAFTA?

    • Describe the components included in the USMCA.
  • Video Clip 2: An Overview of the Process and Structure of the USMCA (4:33)

    • Describe the process for approving the USMCA.

    • What obstacles does the USMCA face?

    • Describe the components in the USMCA.

    Review the students' answers to the introductory activity and address any misconceptions. As a jigsaw activity or individually, have the students view the video clips listed below that illustrate the strengths and weaknesses of the USMCA. Students should use the handout (Google Doc) to take notes on the following:

    • Impact of the original North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

    • Provisions included in the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement

    • Strengths of the USMCA

    • Weaknesses of the USMCA

    Using the notes from the video clips, have the students develop arguments that would address the prompt listed below. This prompt can be address either through a written response, a class discussion or other deliberation activities found on the C-SPAN Classroom Deliberation website.

    • Should the United States have approved the USMCA?

    As an exit slip, have the students write a paragraph explaining the differences between NAFTA and the USMCA. Students should include examples from the videos to support their points.


    Trade Organization Research- Research how the following trade organizations and industries view the NAFTA and the USMCA. Visit their website and provide a summary of who they represent, their mission and their views on the USMCA. Discuss why you think this organization would hold these views.


    • Do free trade agreements benefit the United States?

    • With which other countries should the United States enter into trade agreements?

    • What are benefits and drawbacks of entering into free trade agreements?

    • How is support or opposition to the USMCA more of a geographic issue than a partisan issue? Explain your answer.

Additional Resources


  • Automotive Industry
  • Currency Manipulation
  • Digital Economy
  • Exports
  • Free Trade
  • Gross Domestic Product
  • Intellectual Property
  • Labor
  • North American Free Trade Agreement
  • Outsourcing
  • Recourse
  • Statute
  • Sunset Clause
  • Tariffs
  • Trade Agreement
  • Trade Deficit
  • Unilateral
  • United States- Mexico- Canada Agreement
  • Wage


Economics & Financial LiteracyForeign PolicyGeography


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