When President Trump walked away from the NAFTA agreement, the administration spent 15 months negotiating a new trade deal with Canada and Mexico. But a year since it was agreed to, the United States-Mexico-Canada agreement has yet to be approved by Congress.
That’s something that needs to change quickly. Without the agreement American businesses, including Midwest manufacturers and farmers, remain at a disadvantage as tariffs, not a trade agreement, rule the marketplace.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is the key to moving the legislation forward.
There is bipartisan support to pass the trade deal in the House and the GOP-controlled Senate is expected to sign on if and when it reaches them.
While earlier last year saying she was working with the administration on tweaking the deal and getting it moving through Congress, the year is almost over with no votes scheduled. Fortunately, last week, Pelosi said the House Democratic leadership is close to a deal with the administration and that the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement could be approved yet this year.
While Trump touts the pact as a great new approach to trade with our neighbors to the north and south, the new accord is really just a tweaking of NAFTA. But NAFTA, approved in 1994, was in need of tweaking, particularly when it comes to areas such as e-commerce.
The new deal, also signed by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexico’s then-President Enrique Pena Nieto, has many things that both sides in Congress like and don’t like, but that is the nature of trade agreements — no one gets all they want.
But the deal would remove some uncertainty created by trade wars and tariffs and allow businesses to know what the rules are moving forward.
There is suspicion by many Republican members of Congress and GOP voters that the House has dragged its feet on passage of the pact because they don’t want to give the president a political win heading into next fall’s elections.
But even if Democrats will have to share credit with Trump the passage of the deal is in America’s best interest.