Tags: Trump Administration | mcconnell | nafta | vote

McConnell: No Vote on New NAFTA Trade Deal Before 2019

McConnell: No Vote on New NAFTA Trade Deal Before 2019

Tuesday, 16 October 2018 12:32 PM

President Donald Trump’s new trade deal with Mexico and Canada won’t get a vote in Congress this year, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said.

“My trade advisers says you can’t possibly do it under the various steps that we have to go through. I had not heard that it might be possible to address it this year,” McConnell said in an interview with Bloomberg News Tuesday in Washington.

McConnell said he has not had conversations with the White House about wrapping it up this year. “There’s no question this will be on the top of the agenda' next year, he said.

The White House last month reached a deal with its two closest trading partners to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement. Trump, when announcing the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, praised it as an historic achievement. After 13 months of negotiations and several threats by Trump to withdraw from Nafta, the U.S. business community and many lawmakers were relieved when the new deal eased uncertainty about trade across the continent.

Some senior Republican senators have been angling for a vote this year if Democrats win back majority control of the House in midterm elections Nov 6. “If the Democrats take the House, the vote will be in the lame duck” session in December, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa said this month in an interview.

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas, however, said last week that it was not a “foregone conclusion” that the agreement will be approved by the Senate and warned that the time frame might be too short to fulfill the required steps that are laid out in U.S. trade law.

Asked about the administration’s trade policy more broadly, including U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports, McConnell said he’s taking a wait-and-see approach. He said Trump “deserves to have a little slack cut here and that’s what we’re doing” to improve America’s trade relationships in the longer term, he said.

“I’m not a big fan of tariffs but I’m certainly happy we seem to have settled the situation with Canada and Mexico,” McConnell said in the interview. “And if the short-term trade war ends up producing a better relationship with China, that would be great.”

The situation with China “is not good,” he said. “They’ve been eating our lunch for years and if the president can improve that situation, I think that would be widely applauded.”

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President Donald Trump's new trade deal with Mexico and Canada won't get a vote in Congress this year, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said.
mcconnell, nafta, vote
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2018-32-16
Tuesday, 16 October 2018 12:32 PM
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