The House on Thursday, Dec. 19 passed a bill proposed by President Donald Trump that will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with overwhelming bipartisan support.
The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), passed by a vote of 385-41, is a key component of President Trump’s economic agenda. It will offer hundreds of thousands of jobs and boost the economy of the three countries, according to projections by specialists.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer hailed the bill’s passage in a statement, saying the agreement is expected to create up to 589,000 U.S. jobs and giving President Trump big win on trade.
“House passage of the USMCA with such huge bipartisan support is a major milestone and shows just how much President Trump is successfully changing U.S. trade policy so it works for the benefit of American workers, farmers, ranchers and businesses,” said Lighthizer.
“The USMCA is expected to create between 176,000 and 589,000 new American jobs and substantially increase economic growth. The International Trade Commission’s analysis shows that USMCA will have a more positive impact on our economy, jobs and wages than any other U.S. trade agreement ever negotiated,” he added.
President Trump and Republicans repeatedly urged Pelosi and the House to pass important bills for the American people, of which USMCA is a key trade deal. The president signed the USMCA with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Nov. 30, 2018, more than 1 year ago.
USMCA implements several key changes to NAFTA, including increasing U.S. farmers’ access to Canada’s dairy market, enhanced protections for intellectual property, and a 16-year automatic expiration date for the deal, according to National Review.
The new trade deal also requires a higher percentage of automobile parts to be manufactured in Mexico, the United States, or Canada to avoid tariffs and implements stricter protections for Mexico’s auto industry workers.
“Critics said it couldn’t be done, but he made it happen. Another promise made, another promise kept,” said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).
Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.,) said the pact reminded him of when he would write a letter to Santa, and it would be answered with most of the presents he wanted on Christmas morning.
“This is certainly one of those times when the letter to Santa Claus actually got answered,” Kelly said.
The Senate probably would review and pass USMCA when its members return from the holidays and after dealing with impeachment.
When USMCA is passed, it will be another victory for the Trump economy and American people after the US-Japan trade deal, which is taking effect from the beginning of 2020.
Includes reporting from the Associated Press