US House Democrats on Monday reached a tentative agreement with labor leaders and the White House over a rewrite of the US- Mexico-Canada trade deal that has been a top priority for President Donald Trump.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that she expected the final language of the US-Mexico Canada Agreement to be set by Tuesday, which would bring Democrats to a “moment of truth” on whether to proceed to passage.
The new trade pact would replace the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement, which eliminated most tariffs and other trade barriers involving the United States, Mexico and Canada.
Last year, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer negotiated the replacement agreement with Canada and Mexico.
Robert and White House senior advisor Jared Kushner are due to fly to Mexico City on Tuesday for meetings to try to pin down final details
The trade pact picked up some momentum after Mexico in April passed a labor-law overhaul required by USMCA. The reforms are meant to make it easier for Mexican workers to form independent unions and bargain for better pay and working conditions, narrowing the gap with the United States.
The Trump administration and Democrats in the US House of Representatives are closing in on a deal following several intense days of negotiations with Mexico over potential changes to clauses concerning labor enforcement, steel and aluminium, biologic drugs and internet services.
In 2018, President Trump called NAFTA “the worst trade deal in history” during his election campaign, and also said that the name has “bad connotations” and he plans to scrap it as he attempts to strike better trade deals with US neighbours.
(With inputs from agency)