Tariff Removal Key to USMCA Passage

Flags are pictured during the fifth round of NAFTA talks involving the United States, Mexico and Canada, in Mexico City, Mexico on November 19, 2017.
( REUTERS/Edgard Garrido )

The White House is preparing for a potential fight to get its new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) deal through Congress. 

“The Democrats want the administration to add provisions to last year’s pact with Canada and Mexico that will ensure Mexico enforces environmental protections and allows its workers to form unions freely,” said Jim Wiesemeyer Pro Farmer’s Washington policy analyst.

Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) warned the Trump Administration that it needs to lift steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada and Mexico if it wants the USMCA to be approved in any of the North American countries. 

“It’s very, very important that the White House get on board with doing away with these tariffs so we can get this thing not only before the Congress of the United States but before the Mexican Senate and before the Parliament, the House of Commons in Canada,” Grassley told reporters during a weekly press call on Tuesday. 

The metals duties are the “biggest impediment” to passing the USMCA trade agreement, Grassley said.

A narrow legislative window in Canada could complicate approval, too, Grassley noted. Canadian lawmakers would need to begin the process of considering ratification by March 1 to allow time for passage before Canada’s election season kicks off. 

Many observers predict it will take several months to debate the USMCA bill, and Canada’s Parliament adjourns in June until the fall election.

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