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Senate committee discusses USMCA

Democrats have questions, but proponents confident deal will pass

The U.S. Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement on Tuesday.

In remarks prepared for delivery, committee chairman Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said Mexico and Canada are the top trading partners of the United States.

“According to the United States International Trade Commission, in 2017, more than one- third of American merchandise exports went to Mexico and Canada,” Grassley said. “In that year, Mexico and Canada imported more than half a trillion dollars of American goods, plus more than ninety-one billion dollars of American services. For Iowa, our $6.6 billion of exports to Mexico and Canada in 2017 supported 130,000 jobs.”

He said the USMCA modernizes the North American Free Trade Agreement, which was adopted 25 years ago. It includes chapters dedicated to digital trade, anticorruption, good regulatory practices and small and medium-sized enterprises. It includes labor and environmental standards, he said.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, ranking member of the committee, said updating NAFTA means addressing the challenges facing businesses that operate online, protecting labor rights and ensuring enforcement of trade agreements.

“Passing a trade deal that would allow this president to unilaterally change trade rules and jerk around entire industries would be a dangerous mistake that promotes uncertainty,” said Wyden in prepared remarks. “That’s not how you get to trade done right. Based on that, I have some real concerns about how the administration wants NAFTA 2.0 to be implemented.”

What others are saying

Former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who is president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council, said “exports matter.” – Farm Futures

Vice President Mike Pence says the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal needs to be approved without delay. He said he believes it will pass the House if brought to the floor. Democrats, however, have said they will not proceed until their concerns related to labor, climate, enforcement and pharmaceuticals are met. – Reuters

The next five months could shape President Trump’s trade legacy. The House has adjourned and the Senate will adjourn this week without voting on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Congress could vote on the pact in September. – Politico

Proponents of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement are confident it will be ratified. - InForum

TAGS: Farm Policy
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