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Mexico passes the USMCA, urges U.S. and Canada to do the same

June 21, 2019

On Wednesday, Mexico’s Senate passed the USMCA, making Mexico the first country to pass the new North America trade agreement.

“USMCA passes!” tweeted Jesús Seade, Mexico’s undersecretary for foreign affairs. “Mexico goes first with clear signal that our economy is open. We’re confident that our partners will soon do the same.”

Three weeks ago, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s administration submitted the agreement to Mexican lawmakers. Obrador called an extraordinary session in order to consider the deal after lawmakers went on recess on the end of April.

The USMCA overwhelmingly passed the Mexican Senate in a vote of 114-4. Three lawmakers abstained from the vote.

Despite President Donald Trump’s threat to place sanctions on Mexican goods over immigration issues, Obrador repeatedly expressed public confidence that the agreement would pass.

Mexican officials have expressed their unease of Trump’s unpredictable form of politics and threats to place tariffs on Mexico but supported the deal to provide economic stability for Mexico.

Senator Verónica Martínez García, secretary of the Senate’s Economy Commission, said, “The USMCA is synonymous with opportunity in the short and long term.”

In the U.S., the Trump administration has been pushing for Congress to also approve the deal by this summer. Democrats have pushed back against the president, saying they would not be rushed into approving the agreement until the administration amends certain parts of the deal regarding enforcement, labor, the environment, and drug pricing.

If the Trump administration concedes to the Democrats’ demands, the version of the USMCA passed by Mexico would not be the final agreement.

In Canada, an implementation bill has already been introduced in Parliament, but Canadian officials have expressed their desire to approve the agreement at around the same time as the U.S. Congress.

Last week, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said, “Our plan is to move forward in tandem with the U.S. We think of it as a kind of Goldilocks approach. Not too hot, not too cold. We’re not moving too fast, not moving too slow.”

– MK. II

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