Donald Trump, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signed the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement (USMCA) Friday morning, amid mild disagreement whether it was a revision of NAFTA or a brand-new unprecedented marvel. (Guess who held the latter position.) The signing was a significant step but not the last word: each country’s legislature will now need to approve it. That could be a problem in the U.S.
According to Trump, “It's been so well-reviewed, I don't expect to have very much of a problem” with congressional approval, but in reality, there is opposition to the deal from both the left and the right. It’s a perfect partisan contrast, actually: Democrats are concerned that the deal’s labor standards are unenforceable, and Republicans are upset that it includes provisions against sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren outlined some of the Democrats’ concerns in an email Thursday evening, pointing not just to unenforceable labor standards, but that “It’s stuffed with handouts that will let big drug companies lock in the high prices they charge for many drugs” and “It does little to reduce pollution or combat the dangers of climate change—giving American companies one more reason to close their factories here and move to Mexico where the environmental standards are lower.”
While Trump dropped his petulant attacks on Canada’s Trudeau for the signing, even claiming that “Battles sometimes make great friendships,” Trudeau took the opportunity to press Trump on his tariffs, citing the recent GM factory closing announcement and continuing “Donald, it's all the more reason why we need to keep working to remove the tariffs on steel and aluminum between our countries.”