Pelosi says 'moving ahead' on trade deal; Mexico optimistic

By Susan Cornwell and Frank Jack Daniel WASHINGTON/MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The U.S.

Reuters September 27, 2019 04:05:38 IST
Pelosi says 'moving ahead' on trade deal; Mexico optimistic

Pelosi says moving ahead on trade deal Mexico optimistic

By Susan Cornwell and Frank Jack Daniel

WASHINGTON/MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives is proceeding with work on a trade agreement with Mexico and Canada, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday, allaying worries an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump would delay approval of the deal.

Pelosi, whose support is key to getting the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) passed into law, said House Democrats had discussed the pact on Wednesday, a day after she announced the inquiry into Trump.

"We're moving ahead on the U.S-Mexico-Canada agreement," Pelosi said at a news conference. "We're, again, hoping to be on a continuing path to 'yes'" to approve the deal aimed at replacing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Pelosi has not said when she thought a vote could be held for the deal, which must still be approved by U.S. and Canadian legislators. Mexico's Congress has ratified USMCA, but passage through Congress is likely to become harder once campaigns for the 2020 U.S. Presidential election gather momentum.

Trump warned on Wednesday that the inquiry into whether he sought foreign help to smear Democratic rival Joe Biden could derail congressional approval of the pact. Launch of the inquiry dragged down Mexico's peso and stock market and prompted warnings from trade experts that USMCA was in danger.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has been talking with Democrats to address concerns over labour and environmental enforcement measures in USMCA, which aims to boost union rights and wages in Mexico to reduce offshoring of American jobs.

Mexico's chief negotiator for the deal, deputy foreign minister for North America Jesus Seade, said late on Wednesday he was optimistic those issues could be resolved within weeks.

"I hope the green light from Speaker Pelosi will come before the end of October," Seade told Reuters. "By January, I think it will be much harder to discuss in a calm way anything that is not election-related."

Seade said concerns from Pelosi and other Democrats had touched on whether Mexico had set aside sufficient resources to implement a reform that promotes union freedoms, after a 2020 budget proposal appeared to reduce spending on labour issues.

But the labour ministry budget cuts only affected a youth grants scheme, and Mexico had in fact substantially increased funds available for implementing the reform in 2020, he said. "This is not going to be a final obstacle," Seade added.

Mexico, Canada and the United States should be able to allay concerns among U.S. lawmakers that a loophole in the way dispute resolution panels are formed could allow one country to refuse to attend to a labour complaint, Seade said.

"There are medicines that can be applied. It is something that Mexico would accept and I think Canada would accept," he said, adding that he did not rule out changing the wording in the text of the deal.

"These are issues that can be touched in the agreement or outside. I think in general, there are ways of doing it without reopening the agreement, which is what we prefer."

(Reporting by Susan Cornwell and Frank Jack Daniel; Writing by Susan Heavey and Frank Jack Daniel; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Bill Berkrot)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:


also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.