December 16, 2019

U.S. House Ready To Move Forward On USMCA

As Connecting the Dots reported last week, negotiators from the United States and Mexico arrived at an agreement to make changes in the form of an addendum to the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA. After publication last week, U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced her caucus would support the changes, paving the way for a vote on USMCA ratification in the lower chamber of the U.S. Congress this week.

Click here to review a fact sheet from the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee that explains all of the changes to the trade pact. Click here to read the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative’s fact sheets about the deal.

As Canada’s Financial Post explained, the addendum included a new requirement calling for 70 percent of the steel and aluminum used in auto production to be purchased in North America. Under the agreement, steel must be “melted and poured” by primary steelmakers in North America in order to receive preferential tariff treatment. There is no equivalent provision for aluminum, however, due to opposition from the Mexican government.

Last Friday, the Trump administration sent a final text and an implementing bill for the USMCA to Congress, which will allow votes by the House of Representatives and the Senate. House lawmakers are expected to cast that vote as soon as this week. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the Senate will vote on ratification early in 2020.

Metals Service Center Institute President and CEO Bob Weidner released a statement last week calling for quick action. Weidner said, “MSCI represents more than 285 companies with approximately 2,300 locations across North America. This trade pact is critical to these firms’ ability to compete on this continent, and globally. … This pact will preserve well-established relationships and partnerships that have expanded exports, enhanced growth, and provided well-paying jobs to millions of North American metals workers.” Click here to read the full statement, which was featured in FastmarketsAMM.

Although Congress is one step closer to ratifying the USMCA, lawmakers still need to hear from constituents before they cast their vote. MSCI members can use this link from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce or this one) from the National Association of Manufacturers to send a message to their senators and representatives in Washington. Just click either link to send a letter directly to lawmakers.

In Canada, meanwhile, Reuters reported late last week that the two main opposition parties in Parliament have suggested they might try to delay ratification on the deal since they feel they were not adequately involved in negotiations about the USMCA addendum. Stay tuned to Connecting the Dots for updates and the USMCA moves toward ratification in both the United States and Canada.