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article imageTrump's USMCA deal taking a hit from Congress and Mexico

By Karen Graham     Apr 29, 2019 in Politics
Washington - Things aren't going the greatest for President Donald Trump. He has Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley warning that the USMCA is "dead" unless metal tariffs are removed, while Mexico is threatening retaliatory tariffs over border slowdowns.
Trump's replacement trade deal for NAFTA has passed just about all the major procedural items needed to go forward - The U.S. International Trade Commission report is in, while Mexico is about to pass its new labor law.
Mike Pence is preparing to launch his labor roadshow, so everything was looking good - until today, reports Politico. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley warned the president that the USMCA is "dead" unless he deals with the steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada and Mexico.
"If these tariffs aren’t lifted, USMCA is dead. There is no appetite in Congress to debate USMCA with these tariffs in place," Grassley, an Iowa Republican, said in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published in its Monday edition.
Grassley, as well as a number of other lawmakers from both parties, are demanding that the U.S. restore exemptions from the metals tariffs for Canada and Mexico before they will vote for USMCA's approval. Added to the mix of events, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hasn't scheduled a vote on the trade deal.
Aerial view of cargo trucks lining up to cross to the United States near the US-Mexico border at Ota...
Aerial view of cargo trucks lining up to cross to the United States near the US-Mexico border at Otay Mesa crossing port in Tijuana, Baja California state, Mexico, on April 2, 2019
Guillermo Arias, AFP
It has been assumed that once the USMCA trade deal negotiations were completed, the tariff exemptions would be restored.
Keep in mind that all this is taking place north of the border with Mexico. But that doesn't mean our neighbor to the south has been sitting quietly waiting to sign the deal.
Mexico News Daily is reporting Mexico is now saying it was considering retaliatory tariffs for U.S. border slowdowns that have brought truck traffic to a near stand-still at U.S.-Mexico border crossings. Truck traffic has been slowed for more than a month after Trump had border agents reassigned to points along the border to handle migrants trying to cross illegally.
However, Foreign Trade Undersecretary Luz María de la Mora expressed confidence such a move won’t be necessary due to the dialogue Mexico has with Washington. De la Mora pointed out there were provisions in international trade agreements that forbid unnecessary measures being used that would inhibit trade.
But, “what we want is that this is resolved quickly through dialogue and we believe that can be achieved," she said. And with the border crossings being undermanned, De la Mora added, “We cannot allow this kind of unilateral measure by the United States to affect us. This is an unfortunate blend of immigration and trade themes."
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