House Democrats and White House Reach Deal on Modified USMCA Trade Agreement

After more than a year since the U.S., Canada and Mexico came to an agreement on a new trade deal to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), House Democrats and the White House have agreed on new terms for the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

In a press conference, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the agreement, citing the crossing of a “threshold of enforcement for workers’ rights, the environment and the prescription drug issue” as reasons for making an agreement. The USMCA still needs to be ratified by Congress and the governments of Mexico and Canada before it will replace NAFTA.

In response to the announcement, President Donald Trump tweeted, “America’s great USMCA Trade Bill is looking good. It will be the best and most important trade deal ever made by the USA. Good for everybody – Farmers, Manufacturers, Energy, Unions – tremendous support. Importantly, we will finally end our Country’s worst Trade Deal, NAFTA!”

Kathy Krafka Harkema, codes and regulatory affairs manager for the American Architectural Manufacturers Association, responded to the agreement with optimism.

“The U.S., Canada and Mexico each represent a significant export market for the others. In the case of the United States, some 2 million U.S. manufacturing jobs depend on trade with Canada and Mexico, according to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM),” she says. “Once ratified by each country, the new USMCA will offer opportunities for continued growth for manufacturers, including those in fenestration and glazing manufacturing and their supply chains. The new, enhanced U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement (USMCA) will replace the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). AAMA is optimistic that the new USMCA trade agreement can help to provide greater opportunities for manufacturing jobs and export markets in North America.”

“A lot has changed in terms of trade, technology, manufacturing and exporting in the past quarter of a century. The USMCA will help strengthen intellectual property rights provisions and copyright privileges, while also addressing modern digital technology aspects of trade. The updated agreement language will help companies protect their significant investment in innovation, brands and overall business,” adds Krafka Harkema.

Greg Ugalde, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) also responded to the deal, saying, “NAHB commends President Trump and House Democrats for working together in a bipartisan spirit to reach an agreement on approving the USMCA trade deal, which represents a win for the U.S. economy, a win for American jobs and a win for housing affordability. Many of the products that go into American homes come from Mexico or Canada.  By moving swiftly to ratify the USMCA, Congress will help to address the nation’s housing affordability crisis.”

The USMCA agreement, originally created among the countries in October 2018, did not remove steel and aluminum tariffs placed on imports from Canada and Mexico. Those tariffs were lifted in May 2019.

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