The Trump administration on Monday moved closer to getting a deal for its U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement as pressure increases from lawmakers and farm groups for a year-end ratification vote.
“I think we’re doing very well on USMCA,” President Donald Trump said Monday afternoon. “I’m hearing a lot of strides have been made over the last 24 hours.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is still reviewing a tentative deal reached on Saturday by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Jesús Seade, Mexico’s top North American negotiator, according to Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore.
The deal appears to have gotten a positive reception by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. Wyden said Trumka spent much of Monday briefing unions on the compromise deal, and USDA Deputy Secretary Steve Censky said Trumka “anticipates USMCA moving forward. It will be very good news for agriculture if we get this passed.”
No decision has been released by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi or the House Ways and Means Committee on whether a deal has been reached and a vote can be held in the waning days of 2019.
Meanwhile, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley spoke Monday with Lighthizer, a spokesman for the Iowa Republican said. Grassley is “hopeful there will be an announcement on a deal soon,” the spokesman said.
Lighthizer spent much of last week in intense negotiations with Jesús Seade, Mexico’s top North American negotiator, to try and get the country’s agreement to changes demanded by House Democrats and the White House.
The two negotiators reached a tentative deal on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement by Saturday. House Democrats want inspectors to be able to enter Mexican factories to make sure that the country’s new labor standards are being upheld. The Trump administration wants Mexico to agree to limit the amount of foreign steel and aluminum used to make cars that are exported to the U.S. and Canada.
CNBC is reporting that Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said Sunday Mexico will not agree to allowing U.S. inspectors into Mexico, suggesting the Lighthizer-Seade agreement may fall short of House Democrats’ demands.
Meanwhile, Seade tweeted Sunday that he is now working to convince Mexican lawmakers to accept the deal he worked out with Lighthizer.
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