President Donald Trump’s much-anticipated replacement for the North American Free Trade Act may be getting the final push it needs, according to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The main snag revolves around House Democrats’ push for more efficient ways to enforce standards concerning the environment and labor, of course, under the proposed United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. But Pelosi said “we are moving positively” toward getting the deal done as the Democrats have been negotiating with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative for weeks now.
“I do believe that if we can get this to the place it needs to be, which is imminent, that this can be a template for future trade agreements,” Pelosi said, according to CNBC.
And she reiterated that the USMCA would be “a good template.”
Striking a deal by the end of 2019 has been a goal of the White House, but other issues are getting in the way. One of the biggest roadblocks for the USMCA is the spending bill that needs to be passed in order to avoid another government shutdown. House Democrats promised that a stopgap bill will be passed next week that would delay any sort of shutdown until Dec. 20.
There’s also the ongoing impeachment probe against Trump. Not to mention getting anything major done like the USMCA so close to an election is tough because the Democrats don’t want to hand Trump, or his administration, a win.
“It’s going to be very difficult in 2020, as with any election, to pass major legislation as primaries start to heat up,” said the Atlantic Council’s Jason Marczak.
Once a deal between the Democrats and the administration has been struck, ratifying legislation will be sent to Congress for approval, which has to be signed within 90 days.
The new USMCA trade deal is of key importance considering Canada ($298.7 billion) and Mexico ($265 billion) are far and away the biggest export markets for the United States. But so far Mexico has been the only country to ratify the deal.
Trade negotiations was one topic on the docket for the Democrat’s caucus meeting Thursday afternoon, and we’ll be sure to have an update here on Money and Markets when something important happens.