Democrats and White House announce NAFTA rewrite, giving Trump a win as his impeachment scandal rages

ReutersUSMCA signing ceremony at the G20 in Buenos Aires
  • Congress on Tuesday reached an agreement with the White House on a rewrite of a 25-year-old trade pact with Mexico and Canada.
  • The deal offers President Donald Trump and moderate Democrats a legislative win against the backdrop of a high-profile impeachment scandal.
  • Trump made a pledge to scrap the North American Free Trade Agreement a centre of his campaign in 2016, calling it the “worst trade deal ever made.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Congress on Tuesday reached an agreement with the White House on a rewrite of a 25-year-old trade pact with Mexico and Canada, offering President Donald Trump and moderate Democrats a legislative win against the backdrop of a high-profile impeachment scandal.

The US-Mexico-Canada Agreement – or USMCA – was announced by the North American neighbours in late 2018, but the terms of it have been under negotiation on multiple fronts since then. The breakthrough this week came after US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Democrats were able to compromise on labour and pharmaceutical provisions.

“It is infinitely better than what was initially proposed by the administration,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said at a press conference announcing Democratic support for the deal.

Trump made a pledge to scrap the North American Free Trade Agreement a centre of his campaign in 2016, calling it the “worst trade deal ever made.” He seized on the announcement early Tuesday, which came just an hour after House Democrats said they would move ahead with two articles of impeachment against him including abuse of his power in office and obstruction of Congress.

“America’s great USMCA Trade Bill is looking good,” the president wrote on Twitter. “It will be the best and most important trade deal ever made by the USA. Good for everybody – Farmers, Manufacturers, Energy, Unions – tremendous support. Importantly, we will finally end our Country’s worst Trade Deal, NAFTA!”

The International Trade Commission concluded in an April report that the original USMCA would have a modest but positive effect on the US economy, mostly because it would reduce uncertainty for businesses and investors.

Gross domestic product by 0.35 percentage points over six years under the agreement, the ITC estimated. It could create roughly 30,000 auto industry jobs, but overall American car production and consumption would fall because of higher prices.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

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