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North American professional bodies renew mutual recognition agreement amid NAFTA heated negotiations

The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) has renewed a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) with peers from Mexico and Canada recognizing the "close relationships between the three nations", while the North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations are still in deadlock. 

The AICPA renewed its MRA with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA), Mexican Committee for International Accounting Practice, Mexican Institute of Public Accountants (IMCP), and CPA Canada.

Under this five year agreement, AICPA members going to Canada or Mexico will be able to access an accelerated pathway to professional credentials there, and vice versa to the USA.

AICPA president and CEO Barry Melancon said: “Business is increasingly international in scope, which requires CPAs to be more global-minded than ever before. This MRA is a testament to the close relationship between the three nations’ accounting institutes and our common desire to help accounting credential holders gain practice privileges in other countries.”

Despite these optimistic words and positive cooperation move between accounting organisations from the three countries, at a political level relationships are not all that good. Indeed the heated NAFTA negotiations are still in deadlock. The revamp of NAFTA was a Trump campaign promise. Trump branded the trade agreement between Mexico, Canada and the USA as a “raw deal for the American workers”.

The first stage of negotiations started this summer, with Trump suggesting that the USA could withdraw from the deal instead of making a new one, leaving a few black clouds hanging over the trade agreement and adding to the uncertainty. The next round of negotiations – there will be six rounds – are expected to start before the end of the year for a final agreement to be in place in early 2018.

For more on the NAFTA's negotiations and its implication for the Americas and the accounting profession visit Integration and resilience: South of the border

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