21 June 2019
Mexican Senate Approves USMCA
On 19 June, the Mexican Senate voted 114-to-4 to approve the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, thereby concluding the USMCA’s legislative consideration process in Mexico. Following the vote, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador urged Canada and the United States to ratify the deal, but while those two countries kicked off their respective domestic ratification processes last month the outlook for quick ratification appears a bit more clouded in the United States.
On 30 May, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer submitted to Congress a draft statement of administrative action to implement the USMCA as well as a copy of the final text of the agreement as it now stands. Under the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015, the White House is required to send such a statement to Congress at least 30 days prior to the submission of the final text of the agreement together with a draft implementing bill and certain supporting information.
The submission of the draft statement of administrative action was not received warmly by the House Democratic leadership, however. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (Democrat-California) said that action by the White House was “not a positive step”, while House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (Democrat-Massachusetts) observed that Democrats “have been clear about the need for improvements to the renegotiated NAFTA as it stands now” because the current agreement “does not adequately protect American workers and the environment, limits Congress’ ability to address rising U.S. health care costs in the future, and fails to provide effective enforcement tools.”
In Canada, lawmakers have until the end of this week to approve the deal before their scheduled summer recess, although they could potentially return to Ottawa during the summer exclusively for a USMCA vote.