President Donald Trump told reporters Wednesday the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement is on the desk of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Trump says Pelosi, “doesn’t have to talk to anybody,” adding she “has to put it out for a vote.” The President made the comments to the White House press pool on the sidelines of the NATO summit in London.
Talk of getting USMCA on the House floor this week brought optimism the agreement could be completed yet this year. However, it seems more likely to be finalized in early 2020, as the trade pact faces several procedural hurdles. Some fear the agreement could get lost in the shuffle of election-year politics next year.
Mexico must first approve changes to the agreement before the House of Representatives can hold a vote on the agreement. A trade official from Mexico met with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer Wednesday, as both sides are working towards a speedy compromise. Agriculture groups continue to urge the agreement be finalized as quickly as possible.
AFBF: Trade Progress Can’t Wait
The American Farm Bureau Federation says farmers can’t wait for progress on trade deals, including the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement and a deal with China. President Donald Trump earlier this week suggested there was no deadline to reach a final agreement with China, and that an agreement could wait until after the 2020 elections. However, a phase one agreement including agriculture provisions could still come this month.
In his comments, Trump said trade aid to help farmers cope with tariffs “got them whole.” AFBF President Zippy Duvall said in a statement that while the payments to farmers provide critical support, “trade aid payments are not making farmers whole.” Duvall says a trade agreement with China’s must be a priority, adding further delay in reaching an agreement “would make it hard for struggling farmers to hold on in the face of rising bankruptcy rates.” Duvall also says passing USMCA would “send a message to the rest of the world that we are back in the game” of global trade.