Briefing

House Democrats last major barrier to new NAFTA after Trump drops Mexico tariff threat

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Debbie Dingell, a Democratic representative from Michigan, said her caucus is not ready to move forward with a vote on the USMCA until changes are made to labour standards, environmental protections and enforcement mechanisms. On Friday, President Donald Trump announced he would not impose a five per cent tariff on Mexican imports starting on Monday, as previously threatened. Trump tweeted that he dropped the duty plan because the Mexican government had “agreed to take strong measures to stem the tide of Migration through Mexico, and to our Southern Border.” (Bloomberg, New York Times)

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Talking point: Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau said on Sunday that dropping the duty—and earlier steel and aluminium levies—clears the way for USMCA to be ratified. Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador also said the country’s Senate will sign off on the deal next week. But House Democrats are unlikely to drop their opposition to the USMCA in exchange for promises they’ve already received, unlike the White House. Mexico did agree to more immigration policing, and to allow more asylum seekers to remain in the country while their U.S. applications are processed, but it did so between December 2018 and March 2019, not as a result of the tariff threat.