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July 1, 2019

Will NAFTA Replacement Get Through Congress This Month?

As Connecting the Dots reported last week, Mexico has approved the United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA), the trilateral trade pact meant to replace NAFTA, and Canadian policymakers also are moving forward. In the United States last week, meanwhile, a top Democrat in the House of Representatives working to address his party’s concerns about the agreement, said Congress would not approve the USMCA before legislators’ August recess.

According to Politico, Rep. Earl Blumenaur (D-Ore.), who is chairman of the House Ways and Means trade subcommittee, said, “There’s too much to do and I just can’t envision any way that would happen.” Rep. Blumenauer explained negotiations with the Trump administration to address Democratic concerns are moving slowly. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer did meet on June 25 with Democrats, but that was only the first meeting between he and the working group House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has assigned to work with the Trump administration. According to Politico, after the June 25 meeting, a group of 27 freshman Democrats in the House issued a letter explaining they would not support the USMCA until their demanded changes are made.

The following day, Ambassador Lighthizer met with the Democratic caucus at the invitation of Speaker Pelosi. After that meeting, Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-TX) said, “Both the ambassador and speaker are doing everything they can to address the areas of concern … I think we’re working to a yes. It’s just a matter of how quickly we can get there.”

As a reminder, the Metals Service Center Institute is a member of the USMCA Coalition, (https://www.usmcacoalition.org) which is working to get the trade pact approved by Congress. Among the key points the USMCA Coalition is emphasizing are:

  • The urgent need for action to move the agreement through Congress before the electoral politics of the 2020 election further complicate the outlook, and
  • The gaps between the Trump administration and House Democrats are bridgeable, and the path toward approval depends on a collaborative approach.

Click here to read more about the benefits of this trade pact.

To help advocate for the USMCA, MSCI members are invited to consider joining the National Association of Manufacturers on July 17 as manufacturers from across the country come to Washington to storm Capitol Hill to urge Congress to pass the USMCA. Click here for more information about that event.

If you cannot attend, on July 10  manufacturers will join together for a day of action to flood Congress with messages about the importance of modernizing our North American trade relationships. Click here to email your member of Congress.