Despite congressional chaos, Pelosi sends positive signals on ratifying USMCA

Democrats and the Trump administration are close to resolving their differences over the deal

Amid the swirling chaos of impeachment proceedings on Capitol Hill, Nancy Pelosi is sounding bullish about the chances Congress may soon vote to ratify a modified version of Donald Trump’s cherished North American trade pact.

Pelosi, the Democratic House speaker, says congressional Democrats and the Trump administration are close to resolving their differences over the deal, known stateside as the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA.

“If we can come to terms, (which) I think we’re close to doing, this will be a template for future trade agreements — it will not only be good of itself, but a good pattern for how we can proceed,” Pelosi said.

“We have an opportunity to do it right. We’re not there yet, but we understand the road — the last, shall we say, mile that we have to go. I’m optimistic.”

She made the remarks during a news conference in Washington after lawmakers in the House of Representatives voted 232-196 to approve ground rules for impeachment proceedings against the U.S. president.

Ever since it was reached a year ago, Pelosi has led a chorus of misgivings about the trade agreement’s provisions on labour, enforcement, prescription drugs and environmental standards.

Some observers feared the impeachment controversy would swamp efforts by the White House and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to get the deal ratified — something Trump desperately wants to be able to trumpet during his 2020 re-election efforts.

Recent media reports suggest Pelosi is keen to signal that Congress can still get things done even in the midst of something as disruptive as an impeachment trial.

Canada and Mexico, meanwhile, continue their patient wait. Mexico ratified the agreement — known there as T-MEC — in its Senate earlier this year, while the federal Liberal government has long signalled its intent to follow the American lead.

“I spoke with Justin Trudeau, prime minister of Canada, to congratulate him on his re-election,” Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador tweeted Thursday.

“We agree to maintain good relations and continue to convince U.S. congressmen about the importance of approving the T-MEC for the benefit of the three nations.”

The chairman of the U.S. House ways and means committee, Richard Neal, is to be in Ottawa next Wednesday, where he will meet with Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland to discuss the new North American Free Trade Agreement and the ratification process in both Canada and the U.S. He is also scheduled to meet with Trudeau.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Police suspect foul play in Jan. 20 death

Police are looking at foul play in relation to a death on… Continue reading

Caps stonewall opponents on successful trip

Defence and goaltending earn five points in three games

Cowichan Musical Society blockbuster ‘Mama Mia!’ set to open

VIDEO: It’s almost time for Mamma Mia! on the big stage

‘Epic sky palace’: B.C. businesses help create dream treehouse for boy recovering from cancer

‘It was kind of a bright shining beacon at the end of a horrible, dark tunnel’

B.C. teacher suspended for poking student in stomach, pulling another’s ponytail

Teacher also swore in classroom, used Facebook to contact students

Larry Walker Jr. and Sr. keeping expectations low for hall-of-fame induction

Walker needs 75 percent of votes in order to be inducted into Cooperstown

Gene Simmons to launch new Titans of Rock music festival in Grand Forks

The rock legend has partnered with Chuck Varabioff to run Titans of Rock in Grand Forks

VIDEO: 17 Husky pups rescued from Interior B.C. property find new homes

The BC SPCA caught the moment on video the last puppy, Uki, met his owners

U.S. officials confirm first case of Wuhan coronavirus near Seattle

The U.S. is the fifth country to report seeing the illness

Police recover body of Tofino man near Hot Springs Cove

An RCMP dive team has recovered the body of a Tofino man in his 50s.

Most Read