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Mexico first to ratify new North American trade agreement

By Danielle Haynes
Mexico first to ratify new North American trade agreement
President Donald Trump, former Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto (L) and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sign the USCMA on November 30, 2018. File Photo by Shealah Craighead/White House | License Photo

June 20 (UPI) -- Mexico has become the first country to ratify the new trilateral trade deal pushed by U.S. President Donald Trump as a replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The Mexican Senate gave the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement overwhelming approval with a 114-4 vote Wednesday. All three North American leaders have signaled approval for the pact, which must be ratified by the nations' respective legislatures.

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"The USMCA is synonymous with opportunity in the short and long term," Mexican Sen. Veronica Martinez Garcia said.

Mexico's undersecretary for foreign affairs, Jesus Seade, praised the passage.

"Mexico goes first with our clear signal that our economy is open." he tweeted. "We're confident that our partners will soon do the same."

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador called an extraordinary session for the vote because the Senate had departed for a recess in April.

On Wednesday, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said he's been working with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to resolve environmental, labor and other concerns before bringing the USMCA to Congress for a vote. He said they've made progress.

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Trump said passage of the USMCA in Congress depends on the Democrats.

"I really do believe that Nancy Pelosi and the House, the Senate will approve it rapidly," he told reporters Thursday. "It's going to be very bipartisan. It's great for the farmers, manufacturers. Great for every body. And great for unions."

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