Dec 12, 2019

Business groups express growing dissatisfaction with USMCA compromise

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal announce the USMCA compromise. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Fed chair Jerome Powell said Wednesday that the new U.S. trade deal with Mexico and Canada should remove some trade policy uncertainty, and that it's a positive factor for the economy.

Yes, but: However, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other groups have been registering their unhappiness with the trade deal in recent days.

Why it matters: For most of the year, groups have been universally calling on Congress to pass the agreement. Now that the deal is near the finish line, it's facing mounting opposition.

What they're saying: "We are seriously disappointed by the removal of certain intellectual property provisions," Thomas J. Donohue, the Chamber's CEO, said in a statement. He specifically pointed to reduced protections for prescription drugs.

  • "USMCA is a step back from NAFTA and will yield limited economic gains," said Daniel Griswold, a senior research fellow with the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. The agreement will raise "prices for US families in the market for a new car or light truck, while reducing sales and exports of the domestic US auto industry."
  • The left-leaning think tank EPI said the revised deal "constitutes Band-Aids on a fundamentally flawed agreement and process."

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House passes USMCA free trade deal

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The House voted 385-41 Thursday to pass a revised version of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), a trade pact President Trump negotiated to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Why it matters: Completing the trade deal has been one of President Trump's biggest policy goals in 2019. House Democrats' decision to back it earlier this month highlights how they want something concrete to bring home to their constituents ahead of the new year as well, even after voting to impeach the president on Wednesday night.

Go deeperArrowDec 19, 2019

Mexicans throw 11th hour curveball at Trump's biggest trade deal

Nancy Pelosi and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal during a news conference on the USMCA trade agreement, Dec.10. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Democrats have a "tentative plan" to vote Thursday on the trade deal President Trump negotiated with Mexico and Canada to replace NAFTA, per a senior House Democratic aide, but Mexican officials are complicating those plans.

Driving the news: "Mexico's top trade negotiator plans to return to Washington ... to express his outrage over language in the U.S. bill to implement the new North American trade agreement," Politico's Sabrina Rodriguez reports.

Go deeperArrowDec 16, 2019

Business-backed trade groups lead USMCA ad spending

Data: Advertising Analytics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The top groups that ran ads for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) cumulatively spent over $4 million pushing the passage of the trade pact, data from advertising research firm Advertising Analytics shows.

Why it matters: The majority of advertisers for USMCA-specific ads were business-backed trade groups — a nod to big corporations' anxiety to draw attention to the issue.

Go deeperArrowDec 17, 2019