December 19, 2019

New Democrat Coalition Celebrates Passage of Updated USMCA

New Democrat Coalition Celebrates Passage of Updated USMCA

Today, the House of Representatives passed the New Democrat Coalition-endorsed implementing bill for the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Today’s vote follows the December 10th agreement that updated USMCA to incorporate improvements negotiated by House Democrats. The New Democrat Coalition (NDC) has long supported modernizing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to reflect the 21st century economy and other advances the United States has made in trade policy.

“We do better when our communities nationwide are better able export “Made in America” products around the world. The updated USMCA makes critical improvements to a 25-year-old trade agreement to address 21st century issues, support workers, and improve our environment,” said New Democrat Coalition Chair Derek Kilmer. “This new deal is significantly better than NAFTA, and I’m proud of the critical role NDC Members played in getting an agreement that can serve as a template for bipartisan consensus in future agreements. Now that the House has passed the implementing bill, we urge Senator McConnell to bring it to the Senate floor for a vote before the end of the year.”

“The New Democrats have long pushed for an update to NAFTA that helps our nation’s farmers, workers, and families,” said New Democrat Coalition Vice Chair Suzan DelBene. “This new agreement achieves that goal and includes important new provisions on labor, the environment and digital trade. It also fixes the flawed dispute settlement system of the original NAFTA.  While passing USMCA is a good first step, I hope the Administration will work with Congress to negotiate other high-standard, comprehensive agreements that open up new markets for American exports.”

“Because of hard work of House Democrats and the New Dem Coalition, the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement will promote economic prosperity and help level the playing field for American workers,” New Democrat Coalition Vice Chair Terri Sewell said. “We now have a new enforceable trade deal is infinitely better than the agreement that the Trump Administration handed us earlier this year.” 

"I am proud of the work our coalition did to improve the proposed agreement for the benefit of our workforce, our environment, and our businesses working with Ambassador Lighthizer and the Speaker’s USMCA working group," said New Democrat Coalition Trade Task Force Co-Chair Lizzie Fletcher. "This trade agreement will set the standard for future agreements and represents a win for my district and our country.“For months, my colleagues and I worked to get a trade deal that ensures a level playing field for Wisconsin farmers, workers, and families, keeps jobs in the United States, and makes this deal enforceable. I’m proud of the work we’ve done. This deal is a great example of what can be accomplished when people work across the aisle to get things done and should serve as the template for all future trade agreement negotiations. USMCA is a renewed commitment between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico and I look forward to working with our trade allies to continue advancing a North American economy that creates good-paying jobs and is in line with our values,” said New Democrat Coalition Trade Task Force Co-Chair Ron Kind. “I now encourage Senate Majority Leader McConnell to not let this be yet another bipartisan bill to die in the Senate. Let’s move this deal across the finish line so Wisconsin dairy farmers can finally get access to these new markets.”

“Today’s passage of the USMCA in the House is a win for workers and families in Northwest Washington,” said New Democrat Coalition Trade Task Force Co-Chair Rick Larsen. “Washington state is the most trade dependent state in the country, and a high-standards trade deal means jobs and opportunity for the women and men I represent in the Second District. The final USMCA reflects priorities I fought for, like strong labor and environmental standards and enforcement. I am also pleased the administration used provisions negotiated by the Obama administration to update NAFTA for digital trade and the 21st century economy. Thank you to Speaker Pelosi, Vice Chair Sewell and my fellow colleagues on the NDC Trade Task Force for your work to resolve outstanding issues to modernize NAFTA, create jobs and move our economy forward.”

“Thanks to leadership by Democrats, including my colleagues in the New Dem Coalition, the USMCA builds and improves on NAFTA by modernizing the trade agreement for the 21st century. Mexico and Canada are our closest and most important trading partners, and USMCA will continue that crucial partnership, expanding our market access while setting higher enforceable standards for labor,” said New Democrat Coalition Trade Task Force Co-Chair Greg Meeks. “Proud to have worked with my colleagues in advocating for the Democratic priorities included in the final passage of the USCMA.”

Since its founding, the Coalition has been integral to the congressional consideration of every major trade initiative. The progress made on the updated USMCA agreement comes after continuing NDC support of the Working Group efforts and the release of NDC-endorsed NAFTA 2.0 priorities.

The NDC was pleased to see the final agreement achieve several of our NAFTA 2.0 priorities. The updated agreement:

  • Restores confidence in the United States’ trade relationship with our North American allies
  • Significantly strengthens the State-to-State dispute mechanism, which bolsters enforcement of the entire agreement
  • Brings NAFTA into the 21st century with a new digital trade chapter that includes important provisions on data localization, cross-border data flows, and other requirements that preserve a free and open internet
  • Creates a new paradigm for labor standards in a trade agreement by strengthening the underlying rules, establishing labor-specific enforcement tools to make the obligations fully enforceable, and committing funding and resources to implementation, monitoring, and enforcement
  • Includes strong underlying environmental standards and protections that are enforceable, and includes the opportunity to further address climate change by laying out a process under which all Parties could add the Paris Climate Agreement to USMCA in the future
  • Preserves U.S. law on the de minimis goods duty exemption threshold
  • In separate legislation this week, passes a seven-year reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank