USMCA consideration in Congress likely delayed by government shutdown.

After speaking with Ambassador Lighthizer on January 15, House Ways and Means Committee Member Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA) told reporters that the timeline for Congressional consideration of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (“USMCA”) is “more unclear” due to the ongoing government shutdown. 

Before Congress can vote on the agreement, the U.S. International Trade Commission (“ITC”) must produce a report on the economic impact of the trade agreement.  The report is supposed to be published by March 15, but most ITC employees are furloughed, meaning its publication will likely be delayed.

On January 14, President Trump told attendees at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual convention that USCMA is “in very good shape” and that he expects Democrats to vote to approve the agreement.   Several House Democrats have expressed concerns about the enforceability of the environmental provisions and the Mexican labor reform requirements and have reservations about supporting the agreement. 

The Mexican government missed a January 1 deadline to pass legislation establishing an independent labor union registrar and an independent labor court, as called for in the agreement, and Mexico’s proposed FY19 budget does not include any funds for implementing labor reforms. However, on January 15, leader of the Mexican Senate’s Labor Committee Napoleon Gomez Urrutia called on his colleagues to pass labor reform legislation, saying it could be approved by the end of March.