By Justin Villamil, Lorena Rios and Erik Wasson
Mexico, Canada and the U.S. have all agreed to sign the USMCA regional trade accord on Tuesday, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said in his daily press conference.
The deal will be signed by representative from each country Tuesday and must then be ratified by each one of their respective legislature. Representatives from both the U.S. and Canada are in Mexico City to sign the new agreement.
Lopez Obrador said that more details would be available as talks advanced. Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard confirmed on Twitter that the negotiators would meet in the afternoon. Democrats in the U.S. Congress expressed confidence Tuesday that they can pass the deal as soon as next week.
According to the president, the new deal came after U.S. Democrats asked for labor guarantees and assurances that a labor reform bill passed by Mexico could be implemented. To answer concerns from U.S. lawmakers, Mexico produced a plan for implementation and set funds aside to support the reform on both a federal and local level.
“This deal will help a lot in the national economy, because it means investment, it means employment, and it means we will improve our economic and trade relations” said Lopez Obrador.
Mexico passed a law earlier this year that requires labor courts so that disputes are no longer just settled by the nation’s labor agency. Lopez Obrador said that the countries had also come to an agreement over the rules governing steel and aluminum exports and environmental protections.
Leaders of Canada, Mexico and the U.S. reached the agreement more than a year ago. Since then, Democrats and the Donald Trump administration have been locked in tense negotiations.
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told her Democratic members on Tuesday that there is a final deal and she expects a vote next week, according to Representative Henry Cuellar, a Democrat from Texas.
“We are ready to rock and roll,” Cuellar said after a closed-door meeting of Democratic representatives in Washington. “We’re very confident. We have the numbers” to pass the deal.