The Senate voted Thursday to approve the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which is slated to replace the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement.
The Senate has passed the modernized #USMCA trade deal. I was happy to be one of 89 senators to vote YES. This agreement will open markets for South Dakota farmers and ranchers, who have struggled for too long in today’s agriculture economy. pic.twitter.com/yeGR6ypRLF
— Senator John Thune (@SenJohnThune) January 16, 2020
The agreement also sailed through the Democrat-controlled House last month in a 385-41 vote.
“This is a major step for our whole country,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said from the Senate floor Thursday, according to USA Today.
Of the 10 senators who voted against the USMCA, all but one were Democrats.
Those lawmakers included Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York as well as Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Kamala Harris of California, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Brian Schatz of Hawaii, Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Jack Reed of Rhode Island.
The sole Republican voting against the deal was Sen. Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania.
On Wednesday, Toomey criticized USMCA as “a badly flawed agreement, an agreement that restricts trade rather than expanding trade,” The New York Times reported.
Schumer opposed the agreement because it did not address his concerns about climate change.
“Despite the fact that it includes very good labor provisions, I am voting against USMCA because it does not address climate change, the greatest threat facing the planet,” the minority leader said in a statement.
“When it comes to climate change, the agreement still contains many of the same flaws of the original NAFTA, which I voted against,” Schumer added.
Sanders also cited the USMCA’s failure to address climate change as the reason for his “no” vote.
“In my view, we need to re-write this trade agreement to stop the outsourcing of American jobs, to combat climate change, to protect the environment, and stop the destructive race to the bottom,” he said in a statement Wednesday.
Fellow Democratic presidential contenders Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Michael Bennet of Colorado all voted in favor of the USMCA.
President Donald Trump has repeatedly called NAFTA “the worst trade deal ever” and pledged during his 2016 campaign to replace it.
“Promises Made. Promises Kept,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy tweeted after the Senate passage.
? BREAKING ? The Senate just passed #USMCA in a landslide vote. Next stop → President Trump’s desk.
✅ PROMISES MADE.
✅ PROMISES KEPT.
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) January 16, 2020
Markets Insider reported some of the key differences between NAFTA and the USMCA include requiring every car assembled in member countries to have 75 percent of its parts produced in North America in order to be eligible for the duty-free status.
That figure is up from 62.5 percent. The agreement also requires 40 percent of each car to be produced by workers making at least $16 per hour to avoid duty fees.
Additionally, the deal opens more of Canada’s agricultural market up to U.S. farmers.
The USMCA contains provisions addressing intellectual property protections and prohibits currency manipulations.
And the agreement sets a 16-year expiration date and requires a review of the deal every six years.
The Senate passage of the USMCA comes just one day after Trump signed what he described as “phase one” of a new trade deal with China.
JUST IN: President Trump officially signs the “phase one” China trade deal, calling it a “momentous step toward a future of fair and reciprocal trade with China.” https://t.co/cS64Kpo0XB pic.twitter.com/4phpahKwTx
— CNBC (@CNBC) January 15, 2020
The president called the deal a “momentous step toward a future of fair and reciprocal trade with China.”
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