The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) provides for financial and digital trade regulations that harmonize the treatment of fintech companies.
The historic USMCA is more than just a trade agreement – it is North America’s first multinational fintech treaty. Chapter 17 of the USMCA puts the countries more in line with World Trade Organization (WTO) principles by seeking to ensure equal treatment of companies across member countries, protecting market access, and reevaluating the treatment of non-banking financial services. Under NAFTA, non-banking fintech companies dealt with competing regulatory frameworks, and there was little codified incentive to embrace open banking. The USMCA has aligned its member countries with the blockchain effort towards interoperability by creating consistent standards for the handling and sharing of customer data, prohibiting governments from discriminating against foreign fintech companies, and by making it easier for fintech companies to provide services in other USMCA countries. This is good news for crypto exchanges like Bitso who are trying to capture the on-demand liquidity market for member country banks and regional remittance payments networks. Although cryptocurrency’s future seems shrouded in regulatory uncertainty, the USMCA and its member countries’ shifting policies towards financial technology makes it clear that financial innovators have several regulatory options to choose from when considering development of new services or entering new regions.