Early reviews for President Donald Trump’s new trade pact with Mexico and Canada: positive, but cautious.
The update of the North American Free Trade Agreement— agreed to late Sunday night and rebranded as the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA — came just hours before an artificial deadline set by the Trump administration.
The refreshed version of NAFTA will include increased labor protections for workers, increased standards for duty-free auto shipments, increased access to Canada dairy market for US farmers, and a slight tweak to the deal’s dispute resolution system.
Most business and lobbying groups signaled approval of the USMCA, especially given Trump’s threat to cut out Canada from the agreement. While the tone was upbeat, most groups cautioned that full support would only come after they digested the deal’s technical details.
Here’s a few of the initial reactions from Washington and beyond:
- Sen. Orrin Hatch, Republican Senate Finance Committee chairman: “I am pleased that the Trump administration was able to strike a deal to modernize NAFTA with both Mexico and Canada,” Hatch said. “NAFTA is a proven success for the United States, supporting more than 2 million American manufacturing jobs and boosting agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico by 350%. Maintaining a trilateral North American deal is an important prerequisite to preserving and extending those gains and the Trump administration has achieved that goal.”
- Rep. Kevin Brady, Republican chair of the House Ways and Means Committee: “This important and welcome announcement that the United States, Mexico, and Canada have reached a trilateral agreement to update and modernize NAFTA for the 21st century can be a big win for America’s workers, farmers, and ranchers.”
- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi: “Fixing NAFTA means increasing the paychecks of American workers, delivering real, enforceable labor standards, ensuring fairness for American agriculture, and recognizing the connection between economic growth and environmental protections,” Pelosi said. “Democrats will closely scrutinize the text of the Trump Administration’s NAFTA proposal, and look forward to further analyses and conversations with stakeholders.”
- Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn: “I’m encouraged that the United States, Mexico, and Canada have successfully come to a trilateral agreement to modernize NAFTA,” Cornyn said. “Millions of American jobs are supported by NAFTA, and in Texas, it’s the cornerstone of our economy. This agreement is a positive step toward to maintaining a strong, unified North American economy, and I look forward to reviewing the details.”
- House Majority Whip Steve Scalise: “I applaud President Trump for this impressive new agreement with Canada. While many in Washington claimed it could not be done, President Trump worked tirelessly to bring Canada to the table and negotiate a new trade deal that is better for American workers and consumers,” Scalise said.
- National Association of Manufacturers: “Manufacturers are extremely encouraged that our call for a trilateral agreement between the United States, Canada and Mexico has been answered,” said Jay Timmons, NAM president and CEO. “Today, there’s a massive amount of goods flowing across North America, meaning our countries’ economies are inextricably linked. What’s more, as the United States works to put an end to China’s cheating and unfair trade practices, we are better off united with our North American allies.”
- Business Roundtable: “Business Roundtable is encouraged that the Administration has struck a deal with Canada and Mexico on updating NAFTA, maintaining its trilateral structure that is critical for North American supply chains,” the group representing American CEOs said in a statement. “Business Roundtable has shared the Administration’s goal of modernizing and strengthening the agreement in ways that expand economic opportunity, create US jobs, and increase the competitiveness of US companies.”
- Information Technology Industry Council: “Today’s trilateral agreement is a significant step toward creating a foundation for North America’s economic prosperity for years to come,” said Dean Garfield, ITI CEO. “While we are still reviewing text, we’re encouraged this plan will build upon the prior economic success of NAFTA and adapt it to the fundamentally digital economy in which we live through new rules on digital trade, intellectual property, and trade in goods”
- AFL-CIO: “The text we have reviewed, even before the confirmation that Canada will remain part of NAFTA, affirms that too many details still need to be worked out before working people make a final judgment on a deal,” Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO’s president, said. “Our history of witnessing unfair trade deals destroy the lives of working families demands the highest level of scrutiny before receiving our endorsement.”
- US Chamber of Commerce: “We welcome the announcement that negotiators have reached a deal to modernize NAFTA,” Thomas Donohue, the Chamber’s CEO, said. “We look forward to reviewing the details with our members to determine next steps, and we commend the negotiators for their commitment to finding a path forward that includes the US, Mexico, and Canada.”
- Americans For Farmers & Families: “Whether you breed cattle in Missouri like my family, raise hogs in North Carolina, grow corn in Iowa or simply shop at a local grocery store in New York, this announcement means that we will soon have the certainty we need to continue feeding our own and families around the world,” Casey Guernsey, a farmer and AFF spokesperson, said.