USMCA Advanced to Full Senate by Committee

The Senate Finance Committee advanced the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement to the full Senate in a 25-3 vote on Jan. 7.

Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Penn.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) voted against advancing the bill.

Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) during the hearing on the trade deal called it “one of the most important pieces of legislation we can do this year.”

USMCA will bring much needed certainty and real benefits to Americas farmers, workers, and businesses. Farmers are getting better and more reliable market access, which farmers badly need. Workers will see thousands of new jobs, particularly in high-wage manufacturing industries. Businesses will have an agreement that reflects the realities of modern commerce, including for the $1.3 trillion U.S. digital economy,” Grassley said.

“There are some aspects of this bill that I dont particularly like, but as I reflect on how we got here, Im proud of the hard work of many individuals that made it possible to achieve a strong agreement and a bill that could garner broad support,” he added later.

Deputy Prime Minister of Canada Chrystia Freeland (L), Mexicos top trade negotiator Jesus Seade (C), and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, sign an update to the North American Free Trade Agreement, at the national palace in Mexico City on Dec. 10. 2019. Observing from behind are Mexicos Treasury Secretary Arturo Herrera (L), Mexicos President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (second L), Mexicos Labor Secretary Maria Alcade (third L), and the President of the Mexican Senate Ricardo Monreal. (Marco Ugarte/AP Photo)

Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said the Trump administrations initial USMCA bill “looked like more of the status quo” regarding enforcement, but he and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) pushed the House to include putting regulators on the ground to help identify when factories in Mexico violate labor rules.

“The enforcement process will take a fraction of the time it has in the past. No more forcing American businesses and workers to wait around for what seems like eons, while trade cheats rip them off,” Wyden said.

Toomey said the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was only renegotiated because the Trump administration wanted to fix a trade deficit with Mexico.

While he supported modernizing trade with Canada and Mexico, Toomey claimed that “the changes that are meant to diminish trade and investment. And this, my colleagues, is what I think is wrong with this agreement.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) speaks while flanked by fellow members during a news conference on the USMCA trade agreement, on Capitol Hill in Washington on Dec, 10, 2019. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

“Its the first time we are ever going to go backwards on a trade agreement. The countrys specific rules of origins are completely antithetical to a continental Read More – Source

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