WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Monday that a version of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement that House Democrats could back was “within range” but that they needed to conduct a final review.
President Donald Trump’s administration has been pushing for the congressional passage of USMCA, which would replace the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement. Trump has repeatedly accused Democrats of stalling a vote on the accord to avoid granting him a political win.
“We are within range of a substantially improved agreement for America’s workers. Now, we need to see our progress in writing from the Trade Representative for final review,” Pelosi said in a statement.
House Democrats have voiced concerns over the enforcement of labour and environmental provisions. Labour unions have publicly voiced opposition to the accord amid worry that it will not protect U.S. jobs.
Mexico’s government increased pressure on Democratic lawmakers on Monday to approve the trade deal and rejected demands for more labour market oversight.
Mexico, which has already ratified the USMCA, is eager for the trade accord’s approval because the country’s exports and foreign direct investment are dependent on unfettered access to the U.S. marketplace.
Canada has held back on ratifying the accord because Ottawa says it wants to move in tandem with the United States.
(Reporting by Makini Brice; Editing by Eric Beech and Peter Cooney)