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Trump's NAFTA USMCA trade agreement is facing bipartisan roadblock in Congress



Getting the Pact, which Trump called the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement approved, would give Trump another policy to exploit when hitting the 2020 re-election. Following the conclusion of special council Robert Mueller's Russian study, Trump was able to follow up on reworking relations with several countries, which the president has accused of abuse. The next few months are crucial for Trump as he tries to ratify the North American pact and reach a new deal with China, the world's second largest economy.

But approval of the USMCA, which Democrats have called NAFTA 2.0 partly signal that Trump made few changes, is not certain. Not only most House Democrats, but also a key Senate Republican have expressed concern about the agreement.

Here are the latest developments on Capitol Hill when Trump pushes for the fast ratification of the deal:

  • Republicans emerged from a trade meeting with President on Tuesday saying they want to get the pact signed this summer.

    Rep. Kevin Brady, a ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee, said US trade representative Robert Lighthizer is ready to send legislation to lawmakers when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi "gives the green light." He called to get the deal to Trump's desk this summer "crucial."

  • Pelosi checks whether the trade agreement comes to the house floor. Democrats are in no hurry to move it through the chamber. They have several reservations about the agreement, including environmental and labor protection, its rules for enforcing rules and its potential to increase the prices of some substances. A Pelosi spokesman did not immediately respond to a request to comment on where she now stands for USMCA ratification.
  • Earlier this week, the House Ways and Means trade commission chair, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore. That CNBC said Democrats are not "bound" by "artificial deadlines" to ratify the agreement. The Road and Medium Committee will have to approve the agreement before going to the chamber floor. On Tuesday, the Trade Subcommittee held a hearing on the enforcement of the employment rules in trade agreements, part of a series of events it expects to hold to assess the NAFTA changes.
  • Steel and aluminum tariffs Trump relaxed on Canada and Mexico last year could also cease ratification. After meeting with Lighthizer on Monday, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said her country wanted the United States to scrape the jobs. The Trump administration cited a national security threat from the import of foreign metals as it charged the tariffs.

    "In order to continue with this agreement, I mean the Canadians the right thing is that there should not be 232 tariffs or retaliatory measures between our countries. And that is what I explicitly stated to Ambassador Lighthizer," Freeland told reporters. "232" Freeland references are the authority which the president must impose tariffs for national security reasons.

  • Senate Finance Committee President, late. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, also told reporters this week that rates on Mexico and Canada would come out as part of the approval process. Trump has not signaled the will to remove the tasks.
  • Republicans have started a grass roots flash to sell the deal to skeptical legislators and voters.

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1; CNBC's Kayla Tausche contributed to this report

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