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November 19, 2018

What’s The Future Of The New NAFTA?

The United States, Mexico, and Canada are set to sign an updated trade pact between the three countries later this month, but with the U.S. House of Representatives returning to Democratic control in January, there is increased skepticism that the deal will be approved by the U.S. Congress.

As Business Insider explained last week, Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) who could lead the House Ways and Means Committee, which will oversee the deal’s path through Congress, said the pact can’t pass as is. The congressman said there needs “to be not only changes in the legislation but more enforcement” in the deal to get enough Democrats on board. Additionally Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who will likely be the next House speaker, “has called for strengthening the pro-labor and environmental aspects of the deal by making them legally enforceable, instead of just guidelines.”

Over the last week there also were more calls to not sign the deal until the Trump administration’s Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs are removed. Members of the metals and broader manufacturing industry testified before the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) last week in favor of the trilateral agreement, but according to S&P Global Platts, some called for a roll back of the Section 232 penalties. (Click here to read more and click here for the Metals Service Center Institute’s statement calling for exemptions for Canada and Mexico.)

Also last week, while Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau discussed the steel and aluminum tariffs with President Donald Trump last week in France, telling him the penalties remain a concern, Lisa Raitt, the Conservative deputy leader in Canada’s parliament, argued the Section 232 tariffs could not be separated from the agreement and that the Canadian government should insist the penalties be removed before moving forward with the United States on the pact. According to Politico, Mexican steel industry groups are making the same argument.