House, Trump Have Tentative Deal on North American Trade Pact

December 9, 2019 by Dan McCue
President Donald J. Trump congratulates U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer as he delivers remarks on the United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) in the Rose Garden at the White House on Monday, Oct. 1, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Pete Marovich/Abaca Press/TNS)

WASHINGTON — House Democrats have reportedly reached a tentative agreement with labor leaders and the White House over a rewrite of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal, otherwise known as USMCA.

News of the deal was initially reported by The Washington Post, with other news organizations, including The Hill and CNBC adding details throughout the day Monday.

The reports agree that some details still need to be finalized before the U.S. Trade Representative submits the implementing legislation to Congress.

No vote has been scheduled. But if the White House sends ratifying legislation to Congress by Sunday, Dec. 15, the Democratic-held House could vote on the USMCA by Dec. 18.

The new trade pact would replace the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement, which eliminated most tariffs and other trade barriers involving the United States, Mexico and Canada.

Ratification of a new deal would be seen as a major accomplishment for both President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, particularly as it is occurring against the backdrop of the impeachment inquiry.

A deal is also sure to please House Democrats from swing districts who have been calling for a deal on USMCA for weeks.

“I can tell you farmers and manufacturers in my state are in a holding pattern and will continue to be until we get something done, and give them some sense of what the rules, as regards trade, are going to be,” Rep. Ben McAdams, D-Utah, told The Well News recently.

Rep. Anthony Brindisi, D-N.Y., said Monday he was one of six lawmakers who met with Vice President Mike Pence on Friday to discuss USMCA.

“It is time for Congress to vote on this trade deal which will hold Mexico and Canada accountable, help our family farms, and protect American jobs,” Brindisi said. 

By ratifying the agreement, Congress could lift uncertainty over the future of U.S. commerce with its No. 2 and No. 3 trading partners and perhaps give a modest boost to the small and medium-sized businesses eager to finalize their business plans for next year.

Last week, Scott Deitz, vice president of corporate relations for Kontoor Brands,the company behind Lee and Wrangler jeans, told The Well News his company and its 75 suppliers in the U.S. have been “doing everything we can to create a sense of urgency about this.”

The position of the coalition is basically this: while USMCA is ensnared in Washington politics, there are thousands of people — in congressional districts across the country — who are going to work every day wondering if they’ll lose their jobs if the trade agreement suddenly goes by the boards.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer last year negotiated the replacement agreement with Canada and Mexico, but the new USMCA accord required congressional approval and input from top Democrats like Pelosi and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal of Massachusetts, who have been engaged in lengthy negotiations over enforcement provisions and other technical details.

Another factor slowing the process is garnering the support of organized labor. An endorsement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka is seen as critical to winning significant Democratic support.

Mexico ratified USMCA in June and has budgeted more money later this year to provide the resources needed for enforcing the agreement.

Canada is withholding approval while watching developments in the U.S.

In The News

Health

Voting

Trade

Tai Dedicates First Speech as USTR to Greening of U.S. Trade Policy
Trade
Tai Dedicates First Speech as USTR to Greening of U.S. Trade Policy
April 19, 2021
by Kate Michael

WASHINGTON — On March 17, 2021, Ambassador Katherine Tai was confirmed as U.S Trade Representative by unanimous vote in the Senate. Just a month later, in her first speech as USTR, Tai explained how the benefits of global trade could work as a powerful incentive for... Read More

Defense Department Seeks Comments on Supply Chain Risks for Critical Materials
Defense
Defense Department Seeks Comments on Supply Chain Risks for Critical Materials
April 15, 2021
by TWN Staff

WASHINGTON - The Defense Department is seeking comments on risks to the supply chain for strategic and critical materials. In February, President Joe Biden signed an executive order directing the Defense Department and three other federal agencies to closely examine America’s supply chains in four critical... Read More

U.S. Trade Deficit Hits Record High in February
Trade
U.S. Trade Deficit Hits Record High in February
April 7, 2021
by TWN Staff

WASHINGTON - The U.S. trade deficit surged to a record high in February as the nation’s economic activity rebounded more quickly than that of other nations carefully shake off the economic hardships associated with the coronavirus pandemic. The trade deficit jumped 4.8% to a record $71.1... Read More

Goldmine of New Resources for Railroads
Transportation
Goldmine of New Resources for Railroads
April 5, 2021
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Virginia’s plan for a $3.7 billion passenger rail expansion was revolutionary on Tuesday when the governor announced it but later in the week looked like the tip of the iceberg. The next day, President Joe Biden presented his plan for $2.2 trillion in infrastructure improvements,... Read More

Supply Bottlenecks Leave Ships Stranded, Businesses Stymied
Economy
Supply Bottlenecks Leave Ships Stranded, Businesses Stymied

NEW YORK (AP) — A trade bottleneck born of the COVID-19 outbreak has U.S. businesses anxiously awaiting goods from Asia — while off the coast of California, dozens of container ships sit anchored, unable to unload their cargo.  The pandemic has wreaked havoc with the supply... Read More

Whiskey Makers Face Worsening Hangover From Trade Dispute
Trade
Whiskey Makers Face Worsening Hangover From Trade Dispute

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A hangover from Trump-era tariff disputes could become even more painful for American whiskey distillers unless their entanglement in a trans-Atlantic trade fight is resolved soon. Bourbon, Tennessee whiskey and rye whiskey were left out of recent breakthroughs to start rebuilding U.S.... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top