USMCA, China deal seem to edge forward |

USMCA, China deal seem to edge forward

Both the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement on trade and “phase one” of an agreement between the United States and China appear to be edging forward.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Monday that “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.”

The Trump administration has indicated that Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will provide a written agreement to Congress next week. President Donald Trump continues to criticize the Democrats for not bringing up the agreement.

“House Democrats have insisted that hard-working Americans need more from the USMCA than just the same broken NAFTA with better language but no real enforcement,” Pelosi said. “The original draft of the new NAFTA agreement, while promising in some regard, still left American workers exposed to losing their jobs to Mexico, included unacceptable provisions to lock in high prescription drug prices, and fell short of key environmental standards.

“Above all, the NAFTA 2.0 draft lacked the concrete, effective enforcement mechanisms needed to ensure that the agreement became more than a list of promises on paper.

“The House Democratic Caucus is united by our values, and our priority is to make progress for America’s hard-working families. Drawing upon the values-based experience and knowledge of our Caucus, House Democrats, led by (House Ways and Means Committee) Chairman (Richard) Neal (D-Mass.), have negotiated with Trade Representative Lighthizer on changes to the USMCA draft to address the concerns of America’s working families. We are within range of a substantially improved agreement for America’s workers,” Pelosi concluded.

On Tuesday, Farmers for Free Trade, the bipartisan coalition supported by agricultural commodity and business groups, announced a new $300,000 radio and digital ad campaign urging passage of USMCA and released a list of the 20 congressional districts in which the ads will be focused. The campaign will consist of 30-second radio spots featuring American farmers personally advocating for passage that will run on traditional and ag radio, as well as digital ads in all targeted districts, the group said.

Meanwhile, Trump said that phase one of the China deal is “close,” but that the Trump administration is monitoring the situation in Hong Kong.

“We’re in the final throes of a very important deal,” Trump said at the White House. “It’s going very well, but at the same time we want to see it go well in Hong Kong.”

His comments on Tuesday came hours after a phone conversation between Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He, Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the South China Morning Post reported.