Dems Unveil New North American Trade Deal With White House

WASHINGTON (CN) — Shortly after House Democrats unveiled impeachment charges against President Donald Trump, they announced an agreement with his administration concerning trade with Canada and Mexico.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., accompanied by House Congress members, speaks at a news conference to discuss the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) on trade Tuesday. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Though the United States–Mexico–Canada trade pact is considered a win as for his administration as the deal was one of Trump’s top priorities, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi emphasized at a press conference that their negotiations resulted in stronger enforcement provisions.

“There is no question of course that this agreement is much better than NAFTA,” she said in reference to the North American Free Trade Agreement, which Pelosi supported when it was signed between Mexico, Canada and the U.S. in 1994. “But in terms of our work here it is infinitely better than what was initially proposed by the administration.”

Democratic labor allies like the AFL-CIO monitored the negotiations.

President Trump voiced enthusiasm for the pact in a Tuesday morning tweet, calling it “the best and most important trade deal ever made by the USA.”

“Good for everybody – Farmers, Manufacturers, Energy, Unions – tremendous support,” his tweet continued. “Importantly, we will finally end our Country’s worst Trade Deal, NAFTA!”

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer also praised the deal in a statement Tuesday, saying that it would be the model for American trade deals going forward.

Because NAFTA dissolved the majority of trade barriers between the United States, Mexico and Canada, President Trump and many Democratic lawmakers alike have said the agreement incentivized U.S. companies to move their factories to Mexico where they could exploit low-cost laborers and then ship their products back without tax.

In comparison, this agreement is considered pro-labor. It will encourage manufacturing in both the United States and Canada, as it requires that 40% to 45% of cars to eventually be made in countries that pay their workers a minimum of $16 an hour.

It also has the strongest environmental provisions of any U.S. trade agreement, said Democratic Representative Suzanne Bonamici, who noted at the press conference that enhanced monitoring secured by the agreement will ensure that enforcement officials are aware when violations happen.

“Our communities in Oregon and across the continent will benefit from this agreement, and I look forward to building on the environmental wins we secured in this agreement with a bold legislative agenda to combat the climate crisis,” the Oregon congresswoman tweeted Tuesday.

The House could vote to ratify the agreement as soon as next week.

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