January 16, 2020

New Democrat Coalition Celebrates Senate Passage of Updated USMCA

Coalition Applauds Bipartisan Work to Forge Agreement

Today, the Senate passed the New Democrat Coalition-endorsed implementing bill for the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Today’s vote follows the House vote on the USMCA implementing bill in December. 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. 

“The New Democrats have long pushed for an update to NAFTA that helps our nation’s farmers, workers, and families. Building on the work of the Obama administration, the updated USMCA significantly improves the original NAFTA by meeting the needs of the 21st century economy and reflecting advances in U.S. trade policy. We are proud of the critical role NDC Members played in getting a final product that can serve as a template for bipartisan consensus in future agreements,” said NDC Chair Derek Kilmer, NDC Vice-Chair for Policy Suzan DelBene, and NDC Trade Task Force Co-Chairs Ron Kind, Rick Larsen, Gregory Meeks, and Lizzie Fletcher. “We hope the passage of USMCA will serve as a template for the Administration to proactively work with Congress to negotiate new high-standard, comprehensive agreements that open up new markets for American exports. 

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 in December, passed a seven-year reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank