WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Border Trade Alliance has welcomed the U.S. House of Representatives’ adoption of legislation to implement the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
The 385-41 vote on H.R. 5430 – otherwise known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement Implementation Act – on Thursday sends the treaty to the U.S. Senate, which is expected to take the matter up in January.
Every House lawmaker from Texas voted in favor.
“Today’s historic action takes a critical step in modernizing U.S. trade policy for the 21st century,” said BTA President Britton Clarke.
“The cross-border trade community applauds U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and members of the House who delivered the passage of this legislation with a strong, bipartisan vote.”
Britton said she looks forward to a similar result in the U.S. Senate.
“Together we solidify North America’s economic competitiveness for the decades to come,” Britton said.
BTA Chair Paola Avila said her group thanks the House of Representatives and the administration’s negotiating team for making the adoption of legislation to implement the USMCA possible.
Avila said the legislation assures that North American trade remains tariff-free.
“Not only does USMCA modernize an essential U.S. trade agreement, but the bill contains some important provisions that will help ensure that the environmental infrastructure of the U.S.-Mexico border region is enhanced,” Avila said.
“Passage for the USMCA is the right thing for the country and for border states and we applaud today’s outcome.”
The AFL-CIO is also happy with the House vote on USMCA. The union fought hard to get more protections for workers during the negotiations.
AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka announced AFL-CIO support for the revised version of the treaty last week. The AFL-CIO tweeted this ahead of the vote:
“We are thankful to @SpeakerPelosi & her allies on the #USMCA working group, who pushed to remedy numerous shortcomings contained in the original USMCA text. The end result is a vast improvement over both the original NAFTA & the agreement negotiated by President Trump last year.”
U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar of Laredo pointed out that the trade agreement is projected to raise gross domestic product in the United States by nearly $70 billion and create upwards of 200,000 American jobs.
Cuellar issued this statement shortly after the historic vote:
“Over the past year, I have been working with both Democrats and Republicans to create a trade agreement that benefits our workers, businesses, consumers, and the economy as a whole. This is the day we have all been working towards. Today, we have voted and passed the USMCA, a historic victory for my district, for the state of Texas, and for our country as a whole.
“This agreement will increase market access for U.S. farmers, strengthen intellectual property rights, provide strong labor and environment obligations, and create thousands of American jobs. Furthermore, I secured key environmental provisions in the agreement, including $250 million for the North American Development Bank (NADB) as well as $300 million to fund Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grants under the Border Water Infrastructure Program. These investments will enhance our ability to fund environmental infrastructure projects along the U.S.-Mexico border.”
“I urge my colleagues in the Senate to pass this agreement as soon as possible so our economy can immediately start benefiting from the billions of dollars in new trading opportunities. This trade agreement will position more Americans to compete—and win—in today’s global economy.”
“I would like to thank Speaker Pelosi, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, Ambassador Robert Lighthizer, and their staff for their hard work on this trade agreement. I also want to thank Mexico’s Foreign Secretary Marcelo Luis Ebrard, Deputy Foreign Minister Jesus Seade, Ambassador Martha Bárcena, Senator Ricardo Monreal, and House Majority Leader Mario Delgado as well as Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland for working with us to create an agreement that will be beneficial for all three countries.”
Reauthorization of NADBank
U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez of McAllen said USMCA will set the highest standard for enforcement in any U.S. trade agreement and provide much-needed certainty for farmers, ranchers, and businesses in his district.
Gonzalez said the agreement also includes reauthorization of the North American Development Bank, noting that the Bank works to finance border infrastructure projects on both sides of the U.S. – Mexico border.
The North American Development Bank was created jointly by the United States and Mexico in 1993 to preserve and enhance environmental conditions and the quality of life for communities along the U.S.-Mexico border. Since that time, NADBank has helped finance 63 Texas projects with a combined value of more than $1.7 billion.
“This trade agreement isa hard-fought compromise that will bring certainty to families, farmers, and businesses in the 15th District of Texas and raise the bar for enforcement,” Gonzalez said.
“It is my hope that we can bring this same level of vigor and urgency to continue North American cooperation and compromise on insecurity and other critical issues that hinder regional prosperity.”
U.S. Senator John Cornyn of Texas is also pleased that USMCA includes reauthorization of the North American Development Bank.
“Investing in modern, efficient infrastructure along our border streamlines trade and benefits not only Texas, but the entire nation,” Cornyn said.
“The North American Development Bank has a proven record of improving the quality of life on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, and I’m glad the USMCA shows our commitment to strengthening it.”
Earlier this year, Cornyn introduced the bipartisan North American Development Bank Improvement Act of 2019 to authorize the Treasury Department to increase its capital and provide additional authority to fund projects related to limited natural gas and land port of entry infrastructure.