USMCA Under Consideration During Recess

Congressional lawmakers are on their summer recess. However, some discussions are quietly continuing on one topic that’s important to NAIOP members: the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

Just before the recess, a group of Democratic lawmakers led by Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon visited Mexico and met several times with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. “Through intensive work, we have made substantial progress,” the group of Democrats wrote. “We have significantly deepened our understanding of the agreement and its implications. We have built a structure for consultation and coordination with our colleagues and stakeholders, and with USTR. Over the next weeks of the August recess, we stand ready to work with USTR, including through our staff, to build on the progress we have achieved over the past several weeks.”

The first step to enact USMCA is for the House of Representatives to pass it. It would then need to be approved by the Senate and signed by President Donald Trump, whose administration negotiated the agreement with representatives from Canada and Mexico.

House Ways and Means committee chair Richard Neal (D-MA) says it’s up to the administration to work with House Democrats. “We remain committed to working diligently with Ambassador Lighthizer on this agreement. The timeline for consideration of the revised deal depends on the administration’s willingness to negotiate with us in good faith to address House Democrats’ concerns,” he wrote in a news release.

Enacting USMCA is a key issue for commercial real estate. NAIOP supports the agreement, which was signed last year but won’t come into effect until it is ratified by all three countries. USMCA would update and replace the existing North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).