- Title: U.S. House passes new North American trade pact to replace NAFTA
- Date: 19th December 2019
- Summary: WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES (DECEMBER 19, 2019) (REUTERS) PRESIDENT OF THE MAJOR AFL-CIO LABOR UNION, RICHARD TRUMKA SPEAKING TO REPORTERS / PAN TO MEMORABILIA, PHOTOS ON SHELF IN HIS OFFICE (SOUNDBITE) (English) PRESIDENT OF THE MAJOR AFL-CIO LABOR UNION, RICHARD TRUMKA, SAYING: "Virtually almost every union is supporting the agreement. And there's a reason for that. This is a significant improvement over the original NAFTA. It is a significant improvement over the NAFTA that that Donald Trump brought back to us. The agreement he brought back to us was totally unenforceable. It would have been a little tweaking of the old NAFTA. And in fact, in a couple of areas was actually worse because it gave the big drug companies a monopoly on drugs for the whole American continent. And so, it would have been worse. We reverse that. We reverse the bad things to the environment that were in that first agreement. And we came back with an agreement that is enforceable by workers themselves." OVERHEAD SHOT OF TRUMKA SPEAKING WITH REPORTERS (SOUNDBITE) (English) PRESIDENT OF THE MAJOR AFL-CIO LABOR UNION, RICHARD TRUMKA, SAYING: "It's going to take a few years to begin to reverse the bad and the evil that was done by NAFTA, the harm that was done to our economy and to the manufacturing sector in our economy and to other sectors as well. So it's going to take eight, 10, 12 years, for this process to work through and reverse itself. But you never get to the end product if you don't start somewhere. This new agreement will allow us to start that process of healing. It will take time, but it will get us there and eventually." BACK OF REPORTERS, CAMERA, PHOTOGRAPHER / TRUMKA SPEAKING ON BACKGROUND (SOUNDBITE) (English) PRESIDENT OF THE MAJOR AFL-CIO LABOR UNION, RICHARD TRUMKA, SAYING: "This this isn't a perfect agreement. It still has room for improvement but it is well on its way to getting there." TRUMKA DURING INTERVIEW (SOUNDBITE) (English) PRESIDENT OF THE MAJOR AFL-CIO LABOR UNION, RICHARD TRUMKA, SAYING: "I was willing to walk away from an agreement that wasn't enforceable. Because an agreement that wasn't enforceable is a sad trick that you play on the American public. That's what NAFTA did."
- Embargoed: 2nd January 2020 21:56
- Keywords: AFL-CIO Canada Mexico NAFTA Richard Trumka USA USMCA assembly cars dairy factory labor union steel trucks vote
- Location: WASHINGTON D.C.; NEW YORK, NEW YORK; LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA; FLINT, MICHIGAN; UNITED STATES + ROSSER, MANITOBA AND ST. CLAUDE, MANITOBA, CANADA + CIUDAD JUAREZ, NUEVO LAREDO, MEXICO + UNKNOWN LOCATION
- City: WASHINGTON D.C.; NEW YORK, NEW YORK; LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA; FLINT, MICHIGAN; UNITED STATES + ROSSER, MANITOBA AND ST. CLAUDE, MANITOBA, CANADA + CIUDAD JUAREZ, NUEVO LAREDO, MEXICO + UNKNOWN LOCATION
- Country: USA
- Topics: Government/Politics,International Trade
- Reuters ID: LVA002BAN8CHZ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday (December 19) backed a new trade agreement with neighboring Mexico and Canada in a 385-41 bipartisan vote, sending the NAFTA replacement measure to the Senate for consideration early in 2020.
Democrats, who control the House, approved the United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) more than a year after President Donald Trump secured the deal with Mexico and Canada.
Voting against the measure were 38 Democrats, two Republicans and one independent.
The USMCA trade pact, first agreed upon in September 2018, will replace the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement. Trump vowed for years to quit or renegotiate NAFTA, which he blames for the loss of millions of U.S. factory jobs to low-wage Mexico.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave USMCA a green light last week after striking a deal with the Trump administration, Canada and Mexico to strengthen labor enforcement provisions and eliminate some drug patent protections.
Pelosi said she was not concerned about Democrats handing Trump a political victory on USMCA as they are trying to remove him from office. "It would be a collateral benefit if we can come together to support America's working families, and if the president wants to take credit, so be it," Pelosi said during House floor debate before the vote.
Richard Trumka, President of the major AFL-CIO labor union told Reuters on Thursday that he was "willing to walk away from an agreement that wasn't enforceable".
"Because an agreement that wasn't enforceable is a sad trick that you play on the American public. That's what NAFTA did," he said. A former coal miner, AFL-CIO labor leader Trumka pushed the White House and Congress for big changes in labor protections in the updated NAFTA agreement.
The agreement modernizes NAFTA, adding language that preserves the U.S. model for internet, digital services and e-commerce development, industries that did not exist when NAFTA was negotiated in the early 1990s. It eliminates some food safety barriers to U.S. farm products and contains language prohibiting currency manipulation for the first time in a trade agreement.
But the biggest changes require increased North American content in cars and trucks built in the region, to 75% from 62.5% in NAFTA, with new mandates to use North American steel and aluminum.
(Production: Temis Tormo)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None