WASHINGTON — U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday said a breakthrough in talks with the Trump administration on the trade pact with Mexico and Canada could be imminent and that she wanted to pass the deal by the end of the year.
“We are moving positively in terms of the U.S. Mexico Canada agreement. Again, it all comes down to … enforcement,” she told reporters at a news conference “I do believe that if we can get this to the place it needs to be, which is imminent, that this can be a template for future trade agreements.”
The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, known in Canada as CUSMA, was signed by the three countries about a year ago in an effort to replace the $1 trillion North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), but must still be ratified by the U.S. Congress.
Mexico has already ratified the new deal, while Canada has said it is waiting in order to move in tandem with the United States. The office of Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland was not immediately available for comment on Pelosi’s remarks.
U.S. President Donald Trump and other administration officials have complained that Pelosi and her fellow Democrats, who control the House, are holding back the U.S. economy by slow-walking CUSMA’s passage.
But a major U.S. labour leader, AFL-CIO union chief Richard Trumka, said last month the deal was unlikely to pass as-is if it was brought for a vote in November given lingering concerns over labour and other issues.
“I’d like to see us get it done this year, that would be my goal. I don’t imagine that it would take much more in the Senate to pass,” Pelosi told reporters on Thursday. Trump’s fellow Republicans control the U.S. Senate.
Separately, U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, testifying before a House of Representatives panel, said that the deal’s passage would help remove uncertainty and would be very constructive for the U.S. economy.