In a rare display of bipartisan agreement, the Senate passed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) this week. The House of Representatives passed the USMCA last year, and President Trump has long pushed for this agreement.
By a vote of 89-10, this updating of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) passed the Senate with broad support from Democrats and Republicans. These are some of the major changes that USMCA made to NAFTA:
- An increase in the amount of vehicle parts that must be manufactured in North America to qualify the vehicle as being exempt from tariffs
- A mandate that 30% of the work done on vehicles must be done by workers making more than $16 an hour
- A requirement that Mexico must loosen labor laws to make it easier for workers to unionize
- Stricter safety standards for Mexican trucks entering the U.S.
- An increase in the amount of U.S. dairy products that can be sold in Canada
- Stricter protections for intellectual property
- An agreement by Mexico to increase efforts to stop overfishing
One Republican, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, joined Democratic Sens. Booker, Gillibrand, Harris, Markey, Reed, Sanders, Schatz, Schumer, and Whitehouse in voting against USMCA. T
In the 1990s, Presidents Bush and Clinton shepherded the North American Free Trade Agreement into law, over the objections of critics like Ross Perot. This agreement came into being after years of negotiation between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico in order to promote freer trade between the three nations.
President Trump has long been a supporter of high tariffs and skeptical of free trade and trade agreements. He claims that foreign trade hurts American workers, and the U.S. should enact barriers to the sales of foreign products in the U.S. Free trade supporters note that evidence clearly shows that trade has wide benefits for the economy, with both consumers and workers experiencing benefits overall.
The House of Representatives vote in favor of USMCA was also overwhelmingly bipartisan. The trade agreement now goes to President Trump for his signature.
Do you support passage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which updates NAFTA?