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Senate Passes USMCA, Trilateral Deal Moves to President's Desk

Jan. 16, 2020
The NAFTA successor passed Congress with a second bipartisan vote January 16th.

In a bipartisan vote Thursday morning, the Senate approved H.R. 5430 containing the United States-Mexico-Canada free trade agreement on a bipartisan 89-for 10-against vote. The trade deal has been a priority for the Trump administration for some time. Although similar to the NAFTA agreement it will replace, the USMCA notably includes new labor policies, enforcement mechanisms, and digital trade regulations.

Manufacturing associations generally approve of the new deal. In a December press release, the Alliance for American Manufacturing called the agreement “imperfect,” but noted that it “made progress” relative to NAFTA. “Our priorities … include stronger rules of origin requirements, enforceable labor and wage rules, [and] preservation of domestic content requirements in the American procurement market. The rules of origin requirements specific to steel and automobiles are notable improvements over NAFTA and the abandoned Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.”

The National Association for Manufacturers expressed regret that the deal did not contain more intellectual property protections, but were otherwise positive: “A ratified USMCA will deliver increased certainty for manufacturers—especially for the 2 million manufacturing workers whose jobs depend on North American trade.” 

The bill’s next stop is the president’s desk, but the trilateral trade deal won’t be formally ratified by all three member countries until later in January, when Canada’s parliament reconvenes. 

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