Trump Signs USMCA Trade Agreement; Key Democrats Not Invited

Labor News

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said that labor unions want to support USMCA, but he cautioned the Trump administration to allow time for negotiations with House Democrats to play out. | Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo

Reprinted from The Washington Post by Jeff Stein on January 29, 2020.

President Trump signed a revamped trade agreement with Canada and Mexico into law Wednesday, fulfilling his pledge to rework the North American Free Trade Agreement even as he contends with the Senate impeachment trial.

The revised treaty, called the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), creates new environmental and labor standards for the countries, while also giving farmers greater access to Canadian markets and ensuring car companies have to use a higher share of North American parts in their production, among other changes.

Mexico has ratified the deal, and Canada is expected to formally approve it soon.

Trump was able to win congressional passage of the deal because of substantive changes he made to get support from Democrats and labor unions. But no Democratic lawmakers were present at the signing ceremony. …

It is unclear whether the trade deal will reverse decades of damage to the US industrial sector. US factory payrolls dropped by close to 6 million after NAFTA took effect in 1994 and China entered the World Trade Organization in 2001. The USMCA is likely to add only 50,000 of these jobs, the International Trade Commission has found.

The agreement also scrapped NAFTA’s Investor-State Dispute Settlement system, which gave corporations extensive authority to sue foreign governments, said Lori Wallach, a trade expert at Public Citizen, a left-leaning advocacy organization. “That’s a dramatic change,” Wallach said. …

Washington Post 1/29

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About Jeffrey Burman 5245 Articles
Jeff Burman served on the Guild’s Board of Directors from 1992 to 2019. He is now retired. He can be reached at jeffrey.s.burman.57@gmail.com.

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