NAFTA replacement announced
From GOP to labor, sides praise NAFTA replacement pact
House Democrats and the White House both praised the revamped pact as a win for American workers.
WASHINGTON — House Democrats and the White House announced a deal on a modified North American trade pact, handing President Donald Trump a major Capitol Hill win Tuesday on the same day that impeachment charges were announced against him.
Both sides hailed the deal as a win for American workers.
They said the revamped U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement was a significant improvement over the original North American Free Trade Agreement, with Democrats crowing about winning stronger provisions on enforcing the agreement while Republicans said it will help keep the economy humming along.
“There is no question of course that this trade agreement is much better than NAFTA,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, DCalif., said in announcing the agreement, saying the pact is “infinitely better than what was initially proposed by the administration.”
Trump said the revamped trade pact will “be great” for the United States.
“It will be the best and most important trade deal ever made by the USA. Good for everybody — Farmers, Manufacturers, Energy, Unions — tremendous support. Importantly, we will finally end our Country’s worst Trade Deal, NAFTA!” the president said in a tweet.
The deal announcement came on the same morning that Democrats outlined impeachment charges against Trump. The trade pact is Trump’s top Capitol Hill priority along with funding for his long-sought border fence.
In Mexico City, President Donald Trump’s sonin-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland joined Mexican officials to sign the updated version of the United States-MexicoCanada trade agreement, or USMCA, at a ceremony in Mexico City’s centuries-old National Palace.
Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard congratulated the negotiators for reaching a second set of agreements to answer U.S. concerns about labor rights in Mexico, and regional content.
“Mission accomplished!” Ebrard told the gathered officials.
Lighthizer praised the joint work of the Trump administration, Democrats, business and labor leaders to reach an agreement, calling it “nothing short of a miracle that we have all come together.”
“This is a win-win-win agreement which will provide stability for working people in all three countries for years to come,” Freeland said. “That is no small thing.”
A U.S. House vote is likely before Congress adjourns for the year and the Senate is likely to vote in January or February.
Pelosi was the key congressional force behind the deal, which updates the 25-year-old NAFTA accord that many Democrats — especially from manufacturing areas hit hard by trade-related job losses — have long lambasted.
She and Ways and Means Committee Committee Chairman Richard Neal, DMass., forged a positive working relationship with Lighthizer, whom they credited with working in good faith.
“Thanks to President Trump’s leadership, we have reached an historic agreement on the USMCA. After working with Republicans, Democrats and many other stakeholders for the past two years we have created a deal that will benefit American workers, farmers and ranchers for years to come,” Lighthizer said. “This will be the model for American trade deals going forward.”
“There is no denying that the trade rules in America will now be fairer because of our hard work and perseverance. Working people have created a new standard for future trade negotiations,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “President Trump may have opened this deal. But working people closed it.”
From left, Deputy Prime Minister of Canada Chrystia Freeland, Mexico’s top negotiator Jesus Seade and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer sign the trade deal.