USMCA trade agreement has been reached, can be final in 24 hours

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(Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

President Trump is poised to land a significant legislative victory even as Democrats are bearing down in an attempt to remove him from office.

An agreement has reportedly been reached on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, and could be finalized in the next 24 hours as the deal moves on to be ratified by all three countries, sources told Fox Business.

(Video: Fox Business)

After months of delays and amid criticism from Republicans on the refusal by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to bring the trade agreement to a vote, House Democrats and the White House may have negotiated what is seen as a new version of NAFTA, the Clinton-era North American Free Trade Agreement.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told The Washington Post on Monday that the labor union was reviewing the deal that the two sides had agreed on more than a year after Trump had announced the new trade deal. Although Mexico had ratified USMCA in June and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to have his government vote on it following its passage in the U.S. House, Pelosi has not brought it to the House floor for a vote.

The president and others have criticized Pelosi for the delay.

Critics, like Rep. Kevin McCarthy, have accused Pelosi of being “more concerned with tearing down this president instead of building this country up.”

Democrats have pressed for stronger labor and environmental regulations in the new North American trade deal and hope to use the agreement as proof they can legislate at the same time as trying to impeach the president. Pressure on Democrats to move ahead with a vote of USMCA has been increasing especially in light of the impeachment hearings.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer and House Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal, a Democrat from Massachusetts, have met in negotiations even amid the impeachment hearings. Meetings have focused on addressing trade issues related to steel, iron and pharmaceutical drugs.

Some sticking points in finalizing the deal include the Mexican government not accepting a U.S. provision allowing American labor inspectors in Mexico.

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Frieda Powers

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