US House approves US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement
Photo credit: Stephanie Sundier
US House approves US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement

In its last vote of the year, the US House of Representatives voted 385-41 Thursday to pass Trump’s revised North American trade agreement. The new agreement, called the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) if the Senate approves it.

The trade agreement has come through the House of Representatives after more than a year of negotiations. The revised agreement was among President Donald Trump’s campaign platforms, and it is among his strongest legislative goals. He renegotiated the deal with Mexico and Canada and got the agreement signed in November 2018.

While the deal does not dramatically change NAFTA, it adds considerations for digital trade and tightens provisions on labor and environmental enforcement. It also allows US farmers to access the Canadian dairy market and ensures that car parts made in North America remain tariff-free by encouraging more part manufacturing in North America. The US International Trade Commission projected in an April report that the revisions would only have a small impact on the overall economy:

The Commission’s model estimates that USMCA would raise U.S. real GDP by $68.2 billion (0.35 percent) and U.S. employment by 176,000 jobs (0.12 percent). The model estimates that USMCA would likely have a positive impact on U.S. trade, both with USMCA partners and with the rest of the world. … The model estimates that the agreement would likely have a positive impact on all broad industry sectors within the U.S. economy. Manufacturing would experience the largest percentage gains in output, exports, wages, and employment, while in absolute terms, services would experience the largest gains in output and employment.

The vote on the revised agreement was largely bipartisan, and it came only a day after Trump became the third president in American history to be impeached.