Monday, April 08, 2019

The 'new NAFTA' is still not ratified, and may be in trouble

The trade agreement that the U.S., Mexico and Canada negotiated last fall still hasn't been ratified by any of the legislative bodies of the three nations, and "All of a sudden there are clouds on the horizon in all three places," Wall Street Journal Washington Bureau Chief Gerald Seib reports.

First, Democrats, who control the U.S. House, say the agreement lacks adequate labor and environmental standards, and want side agreements on those points first, but that idea is not popular in the other two counties, Seib says in his video report.

AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka and House Speaker Nacy Pelosi
Axios' Jonathan Swan reports that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who "has more power than anybody to decide whether [the treaty] gets Congress' approval," has invited AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka to speak to House Democrats about it, and "some Republicans close to the process are taking that as an ominous sign."

Second, Canada's foreign minister said his country wouldn't ratify the treaty until President Trump lifts the tariffs that he placed on steel and aluminum from Canada. Then Trump said he might put a 25% tariff on cars and parts coming from Mexico, and that such tariffs would supersede the treaty.

It all adds up to "a very important trade agreement that's sort of flying below the radar screen but hitting some turbulent air as it does so," Seib says. The agreement would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement and be called the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

Vice President Mike Pence promoted the treaty to Indiana farmers last week, and Axios reports that Pence "has more dates around the country lined up to sell the USMCA."

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