US, Mexico, Canada to sign deal finalizing trade agreement

Cornelia Mascio
Dicembre 10, 2019

Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said that changes to the Nafta successor trade deal with the USA and Canada must respect his nation's "red lines" as negotiators push to complete their work. Mexico has resisted Democratic demands for teams of US factory inspectors in Mexico, as well as a proposal to ban imports from factories found to be in violation of labor rights provisions. She has been reviewing changes to the agreement that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and his Mexican counterpart Jesús Seade have put on paper over the past week.

Ross said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi should bring the revised agreement to the floor for a vote this week, or soon afterward, "if we're going to have it".

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the U.S., Mexico, and Canada are close to finalizing changes to a revised North American free trade deal.

U.S. President Donald Trump talks with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit near London, Dec. 4, 2019. Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland told the House of Commons that Trudeau discussed the USMCA trade deal with Trump at the summit.

Trump also told reporters on Monday that stakeholders had been making "strides" toward ratification.

"I do believe that if we can get this to the place it needs to be, which is imminent, that this can be a template for future trade agreements".

He wrote that the "Trade Bill is looking good". He said he would probably return on Monday to continue talks.

"We're doing very well on USMCA", Mr. Trump told reporters at the White House Monday afternoon.

Thune feared the Senate GOP has ostensibly been cut out of the negotiation process as the White House works with Democrats.

One of the main sticking points was a Democratic proposal to enforce labour rights by allowing products from factories accused of violations to be inspected and blocked at the US border.

The details of the deal have not been made public, but Mexican officials have indicated that they would involve more stringent rules around the amount of North American steel used in auto manufacturing; a stronger dispute-resolution system; tougher enforcement of new labour standards in Mexico; and dialing back new protections for pharmaceutical companies.

One point of contention is over steel, after the U.S. trade representative, Robert Lighthizer, made a last-minute demand for a revised definition of what would constitute North American steel under automotive rules of origin. Major U.S. stock indexes turned positive after the announcement.

It would create new intellectual property protections, require more North American parts to be used in automobiles to qualify for zero tariffs, open the Canadian milk market to US farmers, and create new rules for e-commerce. "If they agree, it's likely House (of Representatives) Democrats will sign off on this".

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