Final passage of USMCA likely this week, says top US senator

US President Donald Trump delivers remarks on supporting the passage of the US-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade deal during a visit to Derco Aerospace Inc in Milwaukee, Wisconsin July 12, 2019. ― Reuters pic
US President Donald Trump delivers remarks on supporting the passage of the US-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade deal during a visit to Derco Aerospace Inc in Milwaukee, Wisconsin July 12, 2019. ― Reuters pic

WASHINGTON, Jan 15 — The US Senate is expected to approve a landmark continental trade agreement with Canada and Mexico this week, a top Republican said yesterday in what would be a win for President Donald Trump.

“We are, it looks like, going to be able to process the USMCA here in the Senate this week,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters, calling it good news for the country “and something I think we have broad bipartisan agreement on.”

The long-awaited pact still has several procedural hurdles to clear, including approval by multiple Senate committees. 

But lawmakers appeared eager to fast-track USMCA in the coming days in order to clear the decks before Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate begins next week.

The Senate Budget Committee approved legislation to implement the new deal earlier yesterday.

The USMCA, which replaces the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement by updating rules on auto manufacturing, e-commerce, intellectual property restrictions and labor provisions, cleared the US House last month by an overwhelming bipartisan majority — an unusual occurrence in the current political atmosphere. — AFP

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