An American Farm Bureau (AFBF) trade official says reopening the US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement (USMCA) could cause new negotiating headaches and ratification delays, but it may be the only way to satisfy House Democrats. Farm Bureau trade advisor Dave Salmonsen says the next few weeks of talks between House Democrats and President Trump’s trade team will determine the way forward on USMCA.
“How far do they go to make changes? Will the Democrats be happy with things they could, perhaps, do in the implementing bill, with focus on what the US does…or, does the whole agreement need to be changed to get Democrats’ support. So, it sets a pretty high bar for getting an agreement quickly…but it really depends on how hard the Speaker and her team push this.”
But after Mexico ratified USMCA, and Canada vowed to move quickly if the U.S. does, Salmonsen says AFB would rather not wait.
“The best option, I would think, and I think, we would think, is that they could come to some agreement on some language in the implementing bill, and don’t have to take the time and the effort to try to go back, and reopen parts of the agreement. The danger there, of course, is as much as you may call it ‘surgical,’ or say we just want to do a few things, maybe Canada and Mexico weren’t completely pleased with everything they agreed to the first time around—maybe there are issues they want to reopen.”
But Speaker Pelosi insists reopening USMCA is the only way to secure enforcement of labor and environmental standards in the agreement. She says side-agreements won’t do the job. The three governments have so far resisted reopening USMCA. Mexico’s ratified it, the deal was made last November, and further delay risks forcing it into an election year.
Source: National Association of Farm Broadcasters