By Robert Schroeder, MarketWatch
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said great progress has been made on reaching a deal over the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, but final details for the trade pact were still being ironed out.
“We’re close,” the California Democrat said at the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council in Washington, but “not quite finished yet. We’re within range.”
Pelosi’s remarks came after President Donald Trump sounded an upbeat note about the deal, telling reporters at the White House,“I hope they put it up for a vote, and if they put it up for a vote, it’s going to pass.”
Replacing the North American Free Trade Agreement is a key Trump priority, and Democrats have been in lengthy negotiations with the administration over enforcement, labor and other standards.
Speaking at the same event, White House adviser Jared Kushner said “hopefully we are close to some compromises.”
Scheduling a ratification vote is up to Pelosi, who is simultaneously dealing with Democrats’ impeachment efforts against Trump.
Asked if enough Democrats are behind the emerging agreement, Pelosi replied: “You don’t have to have unanimity, you just have to have consensus.”
Among other changes, the USMCA would require that 75% of automobiles (NYS:F) (NYS:GM) be assembled in Canada, Mexico or the U.S. to qualify for zero tariffs, up from 62.5% under NAFTA.
Late Monday, a Trump administration official said that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Kushner were expected to travel to Mexico on Tuesday to meet with officials on revisions to the pact, the Wall Street Journal reported.