U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)

USMCA in Limbo as Democrats Take House

Nancy Pelosi, a veteran Democrat brawler and vocal critic of Canada’s trade agreement with the U.S. and Mexico, resumed her role Thursday as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

This story by James McCarten appeared in Automotive News Canada.

“Two months ago, the American people spoke, and demanded a new dawn,” Pelosi said. “They called upon the beauty of our constitution, our system of checks and balances that protects our democracy, remembering that the legislative branch is Article I: The first branch of government, co-equal to the president and judiciary.

“They want a Congress that delivers results for the people, opening up opportunity and lifting up their lives.”

Many Democrats feel disinclined to give Trump even an inch of breathing room. That has sparked concern that the hard-won new USMCA, the presumptive successor to NAFTA that’s still awaiting legislative ratification in all three countries, could hang in the balance as the president learns for the first time what it's like to govern without Republicans in control of Congress.

All of which could bode ill for USMCA. The agreement includes elements aimed at the center-left members in Congress, including environmental protections and a requirement that by 2023, 45 per cent of auto parts be made by workers being paid at least $16 an hour. Mexico must also pass a host of labour-law reforms that support and protect women, unions and migrant workers.

Canadian Ambassador David MacNaughton, whose outreach efforts were heralded as key in securing USMCA, will be back at it later in January, working to convince lawmakers on Capitol Hill to support the deal – and also to convince the White House to exempt Canada from its punitive regime of steel and aluminum tariffs.

Got a news tip? Contact David MacNeal