The troublesome new trade agreement between Canada, the US and Mexico may finally be ratified.
The US, Mexico and Canada have reached an agreement over a reboot of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) after negotiators approved changes to a preliminary deal struck last year with the new deal signed in Mexico City on Tuesday.
The agreement, which still needs the approval of lawmakers in all three countries, adds greater oversight of the pact’s labor provisions demanded by US Democrats.
The United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement, or USMCA, would replace NAFTA, signed in 1993, which encompasses $1.2 trillion in annual trade across the continent. It is responsible for approximately 12 million US jobs and a third of all US agricultural exports.
President Donald Trump demanded a renegotiation of NAFTA–which he dubbed the “worst trade deal ever”–in his first year in office. Canadian and Mexican leaders reluctantly agreed to join the negotiations.
“America’s great USMCA Trade Bill is looking good. It will be the best and most important trade deal ever made by the USA. Good for everybody – Farmers, Manufacturers, Energy, Unions – tremendous support,” Trump tweeted on Tuesday. “Importantly, we will finally end our Country’s worst Trade Deal, NAFTA!”
Agreement on a final USMCA text follows more than a year of delays, led primarily by Democrats and the US labor movement. Tuesday’s signing of the deal came after several intense days of negotiations with Mexico over proposed changes to clauses concerning steel and aluminum, biologic drugs, and internet services, on top of the new labor provisions.
Democrats nevertheless fell short of their demands for the removal of liability protections for internet service providers, a provision Nancy Pelosi called a “giveaway” to big tech companies.
US House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal said sections of the text would be reviewed by lawmakers prior to ratification, but he saw no reason for “unnecessary delays” in bringing the trade pact to a vote on the House floor.