The United States Senate voted today to pass the United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA), legislation replacing the North American Free Trade Agreement and updating trading policies between the U.S., Mexico and Canada. The vote was bipartisan, with 89 senators voting for USMCA and 10 voting against.
Gustavo Flores-Macias is an associate professor of government at Cornell University and the former Director of Public Affairs in Mexico’s Consumer Protection Agency. He says that the USMCA only tweaks the existing trade framework, and new benefits to the U.S. economy will be limited and industry specific.
“The approval of the USMCA in the U.S. Senate gives president Donald Trump another victory in the political battle over trade. Now that both the U.S. Congress and the Mexican legislature have approved the agreement, ratification in Canada's parliament should not pose any complications.
“Since the USMCA brings only tweaks to the North American trade framework, rather than the wholesale transformation promised by President Trump, the economic benefits to the U.S. will be limited and concentrated in a handful of industries. However, the new agreement will give the president important political momentum toward November's election, since it allows him to claim credit for following through on his campaign promises and extracting better terms to advance U.S. interests abroad.
“The optics of the USMCA ratification, coupled with the progress to date on the U.S.-China trade deal, will be a powerful political tool to rally the president's base.”