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UPDATED: USMCA this|close to passage

The U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement is closer to passage than it’s ever been.

Some media reports say an agreement was reached today between the three nations, while others say House Democrats reached a tentative agreement with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

Democrats have held up passage over labor enforcement concerns.

“Things got moving along this weekend,” said United Fresh Produce Association BB #:145458 senior vice president of public policy Robert Guenther. “This probably means a vote right before or after Christmas” in the House of Representatives.

Then the Senate would have to pass its own version.

Guenther said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi supports the bill and will urge House Democrats to pass it, and there are about 25 Republican co-sponsors thus far, so he thinks passage looks strong.

He said if Republicans can gather more support in the House, a bipartisan bill headed to the Senate would face less scrutiny from the majority party, the Republicans.

“I don’t think anything in the Senate could derail it,” he said.

Congress ends for the year December 20, and with impeachment proceedings and presidential elections in 2020, USMCA risks being squeezed out, so the next two weeks will be crucial, Guenther said.

All signs from Canada and Mexico continue to show support and likely passage in both legislatures.

UPDATE: Democrat House leaders held a press conference Tuesday morning to announce they reached an agreement on USMCA with the Trump Administration.

The three nations are expected to sign the revised trade agreement today.

Next, Trump needs to submit the agreement to Congress to vote on its passage, which could be as soon as this week.

President Trump tweeted Tuesday morning, “America’s great USMCA Trade Bill is looking good. It will be the best and most important trade deal ever made by the USA. Good for everybody – Farmers, Manufacturers, Energy, Unions – tremendous support. Importantly, we will finally end our Country’s worst Trade Deal, NAFTA!”

Greg Johnson is Director of Media Development for Blue Book Services