Make Kitco Your Homepage

U.S. Senate passes new North American trade deal

Kitco News

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate on Thursday approved a revamp of the 26-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement that includes tougher rules on labor and automotive content but leaves $1.2 trillion in annual U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade flows largely unchanged.

The legislation for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement passed on an 89-10 bipartisan vote, sending the measure to President Donald Trump for him to sign into law.

The U.S. House of Representatives, where Democrats hold the majority, passed the legislation on Dec. 19 after insisting on changes to improve enforcement of new labor rights.

Canada still needs to approve the trade deal before it can take effect and replace the 26-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement. Trump has blamed NAFTA for the loss of thousands of American factory jobs to low-wage Mexico.

Canada’s parliament does not return to session until Jan. 27, so the scheduling of a vote there remains unclear. But USMCA is expected to see little resistance in Canada, as Conservatives have said they would back the deal negotiated earlier by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal-dominated government.

“Today the Senate will send this landmark agreement to the president’s desk. A big bipartisan win,” Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said in Senate floor remarks.

The vote comes a day after Trump signed a Phase 1 trade deal with China, and shortly before the Senate formally began the impeachment trial of Trump on charges that he abused his power.

Writing by David Lawder; additional reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Alistair Bell and Rosalba O'Brien

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect those of Kitco Metals Inc. The author has made every effort to ensure accuracy of information provided; however, neither Kitco Metals Inc. nor the author can guarantee such accuracy. This article is strictly for informational purposes only. It is not a solicitation to make any exchange in commodities, securities or other financial instruments. Kitco Metals Inc. and the author of this article do not accept culpability for losses and/ or damages arising from the use of this publication.