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  • A NAFTA banner is seen during the fifth round of NAFTA talks involving the United States, Mexico and Canada, in Mexico City, Mexico, November 19, 2017.

    A NAFTA banner is seen during the fifth round of NAFTA talks involving the United States, Mexico and Canada, in Mexico City, Mexico, November 19, 2017. | Photo: Reuters

Published 19 June 2019 (8 hours 20 minutes ago)

The agreement is still on thin ice as neither the U.S nor Canada’s government has ratified it.

Mexico’s Senate ratified on Wednesday the United States (U.S.) - Mexico - Canada Agreement (USMCA) agreed last year by the three countries to replace the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

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The deal was passed by an overwhelming majority with 114 Senators voting in favor, four against, and three abstentions. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) has publicly expressed his support for this transnational deal, although some of his party’s (Morena) legislators voted against it.

Yet the agreement is still on thin ice as neither the U.S nor Canada’s government has ratified it. President Donald Trump’s administration has been pushing Congress to speed up a vote on the agreement, but the Democratic-led House of Representatives has sought more time to review the deal.

“We have a president who's much less pro-trade than the Republican consensus has been historically, and Democrats do not appear as enthusiastic about working with this president,” said Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over trade agreements.

Speaking to reporters on Dec. 2, 2018, Trump said he “will be formally terminate NAFTA shortly,” adding that the U.S. Congress can choose between the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement or "pre-NAFTA, which works very well." If Trump did dump NAFTA, the nations would revert to trade rules in place from 1994.

Canada’s Parliament is also roadblock, as current legislators only have two more weeks of work left before the start of summer recess on June 30 to Sept. 1, and members of the new Parliament would have little chance to address ratification until 2020.

On May 29, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government formally started the ratification process with the C-100, “an Act to implement the Agreement between Canada, the United States of America and the United Mexican States” in the House of Commons. 

Yet this process will take longer as the legislation as it includes implementation legislation, it will have to go through the full legislative process, including the House of Commons and Senate. 

The House of Commons is scheduled to adjourn on June 21 and the Senate on June 28. If C-100 does not pass by the end of June, either session can be extended or called back during the summer. The more likely hard deadline is the middle of September.

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