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The US Senate on Thursday voted overwhelmingly to approve a new North American trade pact, handing President Donald Trump a second trade win in as many days just as his impeachment trial was set to begin.
After a brief debate, lawmakers voted 89-10 in favor of a bill allowing the US-Mexico-Canada agreement to take effect, overhauling trade relations among the three countries.
The bill faced some opposition, including from Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, who said it failed to address the threat of climate change, and from Republican Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, who complained that it erected barriers to free trade.
Given that the bill was negotiated at his instigation, Trump's signature is not in doubt, however.
Adoption of the continent-wide agreement comes less than a day after Washington and Beijing reached a separate partial deal, pausing their trade war and letting US farmers and businesses breathe a sigh of relief.
The USMCA is billed as an update to the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement, which Trump had long lambasted as a job killer and threatened to scrap outright.
House lawmakers voted last month to adopt the USMCA after winning changes to the text, including stronger guarantees that Mexican labour reforms can be enforced.
Mexican lawmakers adopted those changes last month while Canada has yet to vote on the text, the final step for it to enter into force.
Trump had long blamed NAFTA for the offshoring of American jobs, and negotiations for what would become the USCMA began in August of 2017.
Mexican and Canadian officials likewise conceded that the 26-year-old NAFTA, ratified in an era before the rise of digital commerce, was in need of an update.
Trump strategy vindicated?
The earlier NAFTA created a vast free-trade zone across North America, leading to radical shifts in the makeup of industries in the three countries and vastly increasing cross-border exchanges in goods, services and people.
While the agreement produced winners and losers in some areas, economists say overall it increased growth and raised the standard of living in North America.
Businesses and the agricultural lobby in recent months had urgently pressed lawmakers to advance the new treaty and help end trade uncertainty.
US trade with Canada and Mexico supports 12 million American jobsRead More – Source