Despite congressional chaos, Pelosi sends positive signals on ratifying USMCA

Democrats and the Trump administration are close to resolving their differences over the deal

Amid the swirling chaos of impeachment proceedings on Capitol Hill, Nancy Pelosi is sounding bullish about the chances Congress may soon vote to ratify a modified version of Donald Trump’s cherished North American trade pact.

Pelosi, the Democratic House speaker, says congressional Democrats and the Trump administration are close to resolving their differences over the deal, known stateside as the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA.

“If we can come to terms, (which) I think we’re close to doing, this will be a template for future trade agreements — it will not only be good of itself, but a good pattern for how we can proceed,” Pelosi said.

“We have an opportunity to do it right. We’re not there yet, but we understand the road — the last, shall we say, mile that we have to go. I’m optimistic.”

She made the remarks during a news conference in Washington after lawmakers in the House of Representatives voted 232-196 to approve ground rules for impeachment proceedings against the U.S. president.

Ever since it was reached a year ago, Pelosi has led a chorus of misgivings about the trade agreement’s provisions on labour, enforcement, prescription drugs and environmental standards.

Some observers feared the impeachment controversy would swamp efforts by the White House and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to get the deal ratified — something Trump desperately wants to be able to trumpet during his 2020 re-election efforts.

Recent media reports suggest Pelosi is keen to signal that Congress can still get things done even in the midst of something as disruptive as an impeachment trial.

Canada and Mexico, meanwhile, continue their patient wait. Mexico ratified the agreement — known there as T-MEC — in its Senate earlier this year, while the federal Liberal government has long signalled its intent to follow the American lead.

“I spoke with Justin Trudeau, prime minister of Canada, to congratulate him on his re-election,” Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador tweeted Thursday.

“We agree to maintain good relations and continue to convince U.S. congressmen about the importance of approving the T-MEC for the benefit of the three nations.”

The chairman of the U.S. House ways and means committee, Richard Neal, is to be in Ottawa next Wednesday, where he will meet with Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland to discuss the new North American Free Trade Agreement and the ratification process in both Canada and the U.S. He is also scheduled to meet with Trudeau.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Paper Excellence, owner of Crofton mill, hit by malware

Paper production in Crofton, and other mills, impacted by incident

B.C. NDP’s throne speech speaks of benefits to B.C., says MLA Scott Fraser

Fraser agrees to meet with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs over pipeline

Port Alberni’s Old Puckers playing for BC Children’s Hospital

CFOX’s hockey team will make the long trek to central Vancouver Island for the game

BIZ BEAT: Get a head start on spring cleaning in Port Alberni

Chris Fenton walks across a desert to raise funds for ACAWS

Blair says RCMP have met Wet’suwet’en conditions, calls for end to blockades

The Wet’suwet’en’s hereditary chiefs oppose the Coastal GasLink project

Petition seeks to remove local police department from Lindsay Buziak murder case

American woman starts online petition in hopes of helping Buziak family

Health officials confirm sixth COVID-19 case in B.C.

Woman remains in isolation as Fraser Health officials investigate

Study says flu vaccine protected most people during unusual influenza season

Test-negative method was pioneered by the BC Centre for Disease Control in 2004

Saskatchewan and B.C. reach championship round at Scotties

British Columbia’s Corryn Brown locked up the last berth in Pool B

Resident discovers five discarded hog heads in Vancouver Island ditch

WARNING: Graphic image may be upsetting to some readers

B.C. lawyer, professor look to piloting a mental-health court

In November, Nova Scotia’s mental-health court program marked 10 years of existence

COLUMN: Not an expert on First Nations government structures? Then maybe you should calm down

Consider your knowledge about First Nations governance structures before getting really, really mad

Meet the Wet’suwet’en who want the Coastal GasLink pipeline

Supporters of the pipeline are upset only one side is being heard nationwide

Most Read