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House expected to vote on USMCA Thursday

By Clyde Hughes
House expected to vote on USMCA Thursday
The House is expected to vote Thursday on the United States-Mexico-Canada agreement after the agreement was signed in November 2018 after the leaders of the three countries, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Photo by Shealah Craighead/White House/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 18 (UPI) -- The full House is expected to vote on one of President Donald Trump's key trade initiatives from the 2016 campaign, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement on Thursday.

The House Ways and Means Committee favorably reported on the proposal, created as a replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement, on Tuesday, clearing the way for the House vote.

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The bill received bipartisan support in the committee and is expected to receive similar backing when the full house votes on it. On the campaign trail, Trump claimed Canada and Mexico took advantage of the United States in NAFTA, vowing to create a new deal.

Ways and Means Chair Richard Neal, D-Mass., said Democrats pushed for "meaningful enforcement provisions" to protect workers along with other measures that highlighted environmental protection and remediation.

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"Our purposeful efforts produced changes to the USMCA that earned the endorsement of the AFL-CIO and will set a new standard for U.S. trade agreements moving forward," Neal said in a statement.

"Democrats secured improvements aimed at enhancing North America's economic competitiveness and advancing the United States, Mexico, and Canada's collective work to empower workers, protect patients' access to affordable health care, and improve our shared environment," he added.

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The deal, while actually keeping much of NAFTA in place, requires 75 percent of vehicle parts must be made in North America must remain duty-free, an increase from 62.5 percent. The deal also requires that up to 45 percent of car components be made by factory workers earning $16 per hour.

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The USMCA also increases U.S. farmers access to the Canadian dairy market and protects digital trade across borders.

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