Deal reached on USMCA, House and Senate votes expected soon

By Erin Voegele | December 10, 2019

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on Dec. 10 announced a deal regarding the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The move came more than a year after the U.S., Mexico and Canada reached a new trade agreement to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement. The U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate must now each vote to approve the deal.

“This is a day we’ve all been working to, and working for, on the path to yes,” Pelosi said during a press conference. “We were in range for a while, but until we could cross a certain threshold of enforcement for our worker’s rights, for environment, and for the prescription drug issue.”

“Thanks to President Trump’s leadership, we have reached an historic agreement on the USMCA,” Lighthizer said in a statement. “After working with Republicans, Democrats, and many other stakeholders for the past two years we have created a deal that will benefit American workers, farmers, and ranchers for years to come.  This will be the model for American trade deals going forward.”  

The U.S. government originally announced it has reached a new trade agreement with Mexico and Canada on Oct. 1, 2018. Each country then began procedures to ratify the agreement. With today’s announcement, the U.S. is one step closer to allowing the USMCA to take effect.

“USMCA is a big win for American workers and the economy, especially for our farmers and ranchers,” said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. “The agreement improves virtually every component of the old NAFTA, and the agriculture industry stands to gain significantly,” said Secretary Perdue. “President Trump and Ambassador Lighthizer are laying the foundation for a stronger farm economy through USMCA and I thank them for all their hard work and perseverance to get the agreement across the finish line. While I am very encouraged by today’s breakthrough, we must not lose sight – the House and Senate need to work diligently to pass USMCA by Christmas.”

Growth Energy welcomed news of the deal, noting the USMCA modernizes the previous trade pact, strengthens the trade relationship between the three countries and provides critical market access for U.S. agriculture. Growth Energy said this includes additional market access and trade opportunities for U.S. biofuel and its coproducts.

“This is welcomed news for U.S agriculture and biofuel producers across North America,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy. “We have a rich history of trade with Mexico and Canada, and the USMCA strengthens that vital economic bond between our three nations. This was no easy feat, so we thank our champions in Congress and the administration for their tireless efforts to secure its approval and for pursuing much-needed economic opportunities for rural Americans.”