The White House and House Democrats have reported that they are very close to a deal to approve the USMCA, the trade agreement signed last year to replace NAFTA. A final deal could come together as soon as early this week, according to sources, paving the way for ratification by all three countries.
President Trump signed the USMCA in 2018 and negotiations with House Democrats have been ongoing ever since, with Democratic leaders pushing for stronger labor and environmental regulations. The agreement and a vote on approval is a divisive point among some Democrats, as critics of the president have been reluctant to vote on the USMCA and give Trump a legislative victory, while some more moderate lawmakers have been wary of returning to their districts with impeachment dominating the conversation.
House Democrats and Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently expressed concerns over enforcement and the need to make sure Mexico pays workers in auto plants an average of $16 an hour. Mexico has rejected such an enforcement mechanism but has said it's willing to allow a "neutral" third party to accompany U.S. and Mexican regulators. There is also a process in case Mexico becomes noncompliant.
The delay in approving the agreement has upset both the Trump administration and Republicans, who say not getting the deal signed before Congress adjourns for the year on Dec. 20 could put it in jeopardy, with 2020 being an election year. NLBMDA will be following the agreement’s progress and notify members should the agreement move through Congress.
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