New North American trade agreement heads to Congress

Fredrick Soto
December 5, 2018

Congress should work quickly to ratify the newly signed U.S. -Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) to provide market certainty and stimulate investment in the economy, said Association of American Railroads President and Chief Executive Officer Edward Hamberger in a press release.

U.S. President Donald Trump, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto sign documents during the USMCA signing ceremony before the G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina November 30, 2018. Sherrod Brown said the USA needs to reopen discussions with Mexico and Canada on trade, rejecting President Donald Trump's contention that their new trade agreement is final.

The original NAFTA deal is back on top of Donald Trump's hit list, with the US president declaring he intends to terminate the 24-year-old trade pact - a move created to pressure lawmakers on Capitol Hill to approve its recently negotiated successor.

Trump added, "This is an fantastic deal for our farmers". He cited concerns about a provision that might lead to the deal expiring, and new rules he said would limit Mexico's ability to sell cars and auto parts.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who is presumed to be the next speaker of the House of Representatives, indicated Friday that House Democrats weren't ready to give their support to this deal yet.

This deal is meant to be a replacement of the North American Free Trade Agreement which went into effect during the Clinton Presidency in 1994. "It's NAFTA 2.0", Warren told a luncheon audience last week during a foreign policy speech in Washington. It shouldn't be a problem in the Senate where Donald Trump has a slim majority but in the House, even if all the Republicans vote for it, they'll have to pick up at least 20 or 25 Democrats to support it as well.

On Sunday, Henry Connelly, a spokesman for Pelosi, told the New York Times that it was "disappointing but not surprising" that Trump was trying to force Congress to approve the new deal. "I want to see how many Democratic votes come on board for this".

"As now drafted this deal will put Florida seasonal vegetable growers out of business", Rubio wrote.

"As it stands, this agreement has not earned the support of America's working families", he said in a statement.

If Trump ends NAFTA, Congress would have 60 days to approve USMCA or both trade deals would be void.

Democrats are insisting that the trade deal must be reopened to strengthen provisions aimed at limiting the companies' ability to move to Mexico.

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