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Mexico Presses US to Approve USMCA

Several industry groups have already called on the Democrat-led House to ratify the proposal, including the  National Association of Manufacturers, which urged Congress to pass the USMCA noting how North America “is the most significant trade market for the United States.”

Mexico recently upped its pressure on the United States Congress to pass the United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA). The bill is still languishing in the House of Representatives, waiting to be ratified more than a year after the three nations agreed to pass the new landmark deal. Many view it as an upgraded version of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Mexican President Manuel Lopez Obrador said he would send another communication to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to push the US Congress for action on the deal, after writing a letter urging for the same last month.“I’m sure that Mrs. Pelosi and the lawmakers of the Democratic Party are going to help us,” Lopez Obrador said in a news conference while signaling optimism that the US side will approve the deal by the end of 2019.

“There’s agreement and I took the opportunity to send Mrs. Pelosi a letter explaining that it is in the interest of the three peoples, the three nations, that this deal is approved,”Obrador added.

Pessimism About Passing

Mexico’s chief negotiator for the USMCA, Deputy foreign Minister for North America Jesus Seade, earlier sounded pessimistic that the trade deal — which is expected to mostly benefit American farmers — would be approved by the US Congress before 2020. Several American business executives have also hinted that it is unlikely that the Democrat-led House will approve the USMCA before next year.

“Far from reaching a deal, in the last two weeks, statements from certain labor sectors have re-emerged, floating ideas that would be totally unacceptable to Mexico,” Seade was reportedly saying. 

President Donald Trump also lashed at the Democrats, again, for holding up the landmark deal for too long.

“Pelosi should put it up for a vote because, at some point pretty soon, you’re going to have Canada and you’re going to have Mexico say, ‘What’s going on? Send the agreement back. Let’s not make the deal.’ And I wouldn’t blame them at all,” the President said last week. 

Earlier, Trump said Pelosi is stalling the vote on the deal as House Democrats are refusing to give him a political win and are “too busy” working on impeachment instead.

“Mexico-Canada is happening if they can even get it approved. I don’t think they can cause its Nancy Pelosi. They are too busy working on impeachment,” Trump said back then.

What is USMCA?

The USMCA is expected to help bring back more manufacturing jobs to the US, strengthen intellectual property protections, require safe and fair working conditions for all countries, include environmental protection clauses, and further promote trade between America’s two largest trading partners, with three-way trade supporting more than 12 million US jobs.

After the mounting pressure, Pelosi committed in October to passing the agreement, but she has yet to schedule a vote on deal.

Senator Mitch McConnell, on the other hand, said the Senate will “swiftly pass” the USMCA, and is just waiting on the House action to start the ball rolling. He also lamented how Pelosi is holding up the approval of the agreement.

Several industry groups have already called on the Democrat-led House to ratify the proposal, including the  National Association of Manufacturers, which urged Congress to pass the USMCA noting how North America “is the most significant trade market for the United States.”

Senior White House adviser and the director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, Peter Navarro is also pushing Pelosi to pass the key deal, which he described as “even more important than any China deal” for the US.

Pelosi, in response, said last week that the House version of the USMCA was “within range” of getting approved but that lawmakers need to conduct a final review.

“We are within range of a substantially improved agreement for America’s workers. Now, we need to see our progress in writing from the Trade Representative for final review,” Pelosi was quoted as saying in a statement, with no further details.

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