While the trade spat between China and U.S. takes center stage the future of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) is in jeopardy.
In an interview with Yahoo Finance’s On The Move, former U.S. Ambassador to Canada Bruce Heyman blamed Robert Lighthizer, the United States Trade Representative.
“I think USTR actually bungled this,” Heyman said, adding that if the Trump administration had managed their calendar properly the USMCA would have been passed in Congress by now. “The problem is that they kicked the can down the road. They were being hostile toward the Canadians and the Mexicans alike. And the deal got signed late,” he said, noting that the deal should have been signed in early 2018, the latest. “So, now he has to face the Democratic Congress.”
Another challenge facing USMCA, Heyman pointed out, “under TPA [Trade Promotion Authority], this negotiating strategy which was given to the administration by Congress, it requires consultation — consultation with Democrats, consultation with unions, consultation with stakeholders. They didn’t do that either. So now they have an agreement that’s all signed off, and they’re trying to push it through and get it passed.”
The issue with facing a Democratic Congress is that the majority in the House of Representatives and Speaker Nancy Pelosi are against bringing the agreement for a vote until they’re able to enforce the deal.