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Summer Passage of USMCA Looking Doubtful

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Key lawmakers in Washington, D.C., cast significant doubt on the possibility of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement getting passed through Congress yet this summer. This comes in spite of the fact that political pressure is ramping up. Congress has a long summer recess rapidly approaching. Politico says it’s looking like Democrats are sticking to their ideas that the agreement needs more changes. That may push a vote on the House floor at least into the fall. Waiting that long will only increase the risk of the much-needed bill getting swallowed up in the politics of the 2020 presidential campaign.

Representative Earl Blumenauer of Oregon is Chair of the House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee, who talked about the prospects of a vote on USMCA in the next few weeks. At an event last week in Washington, his response was a simple one, saying, “It’s not going to happen. I think it’s very unlikely that something is going to happen before Congress heads out of town on the August recess.”

Just over half the nation’s governors co-signed a letter to Congress asking for rapid ratification of USMCA. In a letter dated Thursday, June 20, it says, “Nearly 25 years after passing the North American Free Trade Agreement, it’s time to update our trade policies with two of our most critical trading partners.” The governors, all Republicans, say the USMCA is a “comprehensive, twenty-first-century trade agreement” which will protect trade secrets and intellectual property, prevents corruption, prevents importation of goods produced by forced labor, and expands the agricultural market by lowering trade barriers for farmers and ranchers.

The Jamestown, North Dakota, Sun says the letter also reads, “As chief executives of our states, we urge Congress to pass the USMCA quickly so American workers can begin reaping the benefits of improved trade with our North American neighbors,” The letter also says. “Passing the agreement quickly will give our small and large businesses the stability and predictability they need to expand, invest, and create more jobs.” North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, one of the co-signers, says, “American producers are among the world’s best and can compete with anyone on a level playing field. The USMCA represents a tremendous opportunity to advance free and fair trade.”