Mexico’s Senate passed the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement on Wednesday, making the nation the first to ratify the new trade pact, Politico reported.
Mexican foreign affairs undersecretary Jesús Seade announced the passing of the legislation on Twitter, writing, “USMCA passes! Mexico goes first with clear signal that our economy is open.”
¡#TMEC aprobado! México toma la delantera, con señales claras de que nuestra economía es abierta, de mercado. Confiamos que nuestros socios pronto harán lo propio en aras de una Norteamérica fuerte, con reglas claras, atractiva para la inversión, estable y competitiva.
— Jesús Seade (@JesusSeade) June 19, 2019
“We’re confident that our partners will soon do the same,” Seade went on to say.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador called a special session to consider the deal after the Senate broke for recess at the end of April. The agreement passed by 114 to 4 votes, with three lawmakers abstaining from the vote.
Despite President Donald Trump’s repeated threats to place 5 percent tariffs on Mexican goods over the ongoing southern border crisis, López Obrador maintained confidence that the deal would pass.
Prior to the vote, Mexican lawmakers expressed concern over the president’s unpredictability.
However, the deal was widely seen as a way of providing economic stability to the Mexican people.
Sen. Verónica Martínez García, the secretary to the Senate Economy Commission, told the Senate floor, “The USMCA is synonymous with opportunity in the short and long term.”
While Mexico appears confident over the deal, the U.S. Congress isn’t entirely on board yet.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has repeatedly said that rushing a vote on the deal would be a bad idea.
During a breakfast for reporters organized by the Christian Science Monitor, Pelosi outlined her concerns over labor and environmental protections in the agreement, as well as provisions on pharmaceuticals.
The Democratic congresswoman also said she would not accept the deal if it is simply “NAFTA with sugar on top.”
As Democrats have yet to agree to sign the deal, the text passed in Mexico’s Senate may not represent the totality of the final agreement.
Any renegotiation of terms, forced by the Democrats, would require the agreement of Mexico and Canada.
Robert Lighthizer, U.S. Trade Representative, said this week that he will work with Democrats to address their concerns on enforcement.
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