Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic speaker of the House of Representatives, said she had agreed a deal with US President Donald Trump to allow ratification of USMCA — the trade deal reached last year with Canada and Mexico to replace Nafta.
Ms Pelosi’s announcement on Tuesday followed months of wrangling with Robert Lighthizer, the US trade representative, and parallel talks with officials in Ottawa and Mexico City to secure changes to the original text.
Robert Lighthizer, the US trade representative; Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s deputy prime minister; and Jesus Seade, Mexico’s Nafta negotiator, were due to meet in the Mexican capital later on Tuesday to sign off on the proposed amendments.
Ms Pelosi said that the deal she agreed was “infinitely better” than the original agreement made by Mr Trump, particularly on enforcement of labour standards in Mexico. Ms Pelosi clinched the approval of the influential AFL-CIO labour union, which has long resisted US trade deals.
Congressional ratification of USMCA has been among the highest legislative priorities for Mr Trump, but its prospects were uncertain until this week. The move towards a green light on Capitol Hill will be touted as a big win for the White House heading into the 2020 presidential campaign.
“America’s great USMCA Trade Bill is looking good. It will be the best and most important trade deal ever made by the USA. Good for everybody — Farmers, Manufacturers, Energy, Unions — tremendous support. Importantly, we will finally end our Country’s worst Trade Deal, Nafta!,” Mr Trump said in a tweet on Tuesday.