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Senate passes, sends U.S.-Canada-Mexico trade deal to Trump's desk

By
Don Jacobson
U.S. President Donald Trump, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto (L) and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attend a signing ceremony for the USMCA on November 30, 2018, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. File Photo by Shealah Craighead/White House/UPI
U.S. President Donald Trump, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto (L) and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attend a signing ceremony for the USMCA on November 30, 2018, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. File Photo by Shealah Craighead/White House/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 16 (UPI) -- The Senate on Thursday approved the new trade deal for the United States, Mexico and Canada, handing President Donald Trump a policy victory amid the start of his impeachment trial.

The chamber passed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement by a vote of 89-10, which sent the measure to Trump's desk for approval. With his signature, the pact will then only require approval from Canada's House of Commons to enter legal force. Mexico signed off on the accord last June and approved a revised version last month.

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The USMCA aims to replace the President Bill Clinton-era North American Free Trade Agreement, which Trump has denounced repeatedly.

"For years, politicians -- both Democrat and Republican -- have promised to replace NAFTA with a deal that better protects American jobs and workers," the White House tweeted Thursday. "Promise MADE, Promise KEPT!"

RELATED Flurry of year-end trade deal announcements give farmers hope for 2020

Then-presidential candidate Trump pledged in 2016 to repeal NAFTA, which he blamed for an exodus of American manufacturing jobs to Mexico. His effort eventually earned the backing of most Democrats who sought to beef up enforcement of labor and environmental standards in North America.

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Under the new agreement, for instance, rules require at least 40 percent of auto parts made in the United States, Canada or Mexico to be produced in plants where workers make at least $16 per hour. It also calls for increasing U.S. dairy access up to 3.6 percent of Canada's market.

The bipartisan nature of the USMCA's approval is considered a key boost for Trump's administration, particularly as he will face an impeachment trial in the Senate next week. The procedural first stage of the trial began Thursday.

RELATED House votes to pass U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham released a statement late Thursday calling the Senate's approval a "trade win."

"The trade agreement, which has now been approved by both chambers of Congress with unprecedented bipartisan support, 89-10 in the Senate and 385-41 in the House, will replace the job-killing, huge failure NAFTA -- fulfilling a core promise the President made to the American people," she said. "USMCA, which the president successfully negotiated over a year ago, rebalances trade between the three countries and will lead to significant economic and job growth in the United States."

RELATED House expected to vote on USMCA Thursday

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