Thursday, January 16, 2020

Senate overwhelmingly approved the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement

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The Senate overwhelmingly approved the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement on Thursday, delivering President Donald Trump a major legislative victory in a presidential election year. Lawmakers voted 89 to 10 to pass the legislation ratifying the agreement, sending it the White House for the president’s signature. The development comes one day after China agreed to purchase an additional $200 billion in U.S. goods and services over the next two years as part of their “phase one” trade agreement. “Today the Senate will send this landmark agreement to the president’s desk,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement prior to the upper chamber’s vote. “Quite a week of substantive accomplishments for the nation, for the president, and for international trade.” The House approved the agreement 358-41 on December 19th, following more than a year of talks between White House officials and congressional leaders. The USMCA maintains much of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), but will usher in new trade considerations, such as 75 percent of vehicle parts must be made in the three countries to be tariff-free. Additionally, 45 percent of car parts must be made by workers earning a $16 hourly wage. Further, the deal will expand U.S. farmers’ access to Canada’s dairy market. President Donald Trump signed the deal with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and then-Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in November of last year. At the time, the president called it the “largest, most significant, modern and balanced trade agreement in history.”

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