But in the Oval Office, Trump was furious that the impeachment investigation overshadowed his trade deals when it came to the best stories of the day. WASHINGTON (AP) – The Senate on Thursday overwhelmingly approved a new North American trade deal that outlines trade rules with Canada and Mexico and gives President Donald Trump a major political victory before senators turn their attention to his impeachment process. The final vote came just moments before Congress opened impeachment proceedings in which House Democrats read the formal charges from the Senate well. With the process and an election year, Congress is not expected to pass many important bills. The Trade Act gives lawmakers on both sides the opportunity to indicate progress on an important economic issue before the November vote. In 2016, Trump called for trade deals, his statements to increase the country`s trade deficit and cost the country jobs in production. He promised he would rewrite NAFTA if elected, a pact he called “the worst trade deal in history.” He can now go to states like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and tell voters that he has kept his promise. The vote was 89-10. The measure goes to Trump for his signature. It would replace the North American free trade agreement, known as NAFTA, which is 25 years old, which has broken down most trade barriers and increased trade.
But Trump and other critics have accused the pact of encouraging U.S. companies to move their production sites south of the border to take advantage of the benefits of low-wage Mexican workers. Probably not much. Trade is a relatively small part of the U.S. economy. And trade with Mexico and Canada is even smaller. In an analysis last year, the Independent International Trade Commission calculated that the USMCA would increase economic growth by 0.35 per cent or $68 billion and create 176,000 jobs over a long period of year – only in an economy worth $22 trillion, with 152 million non-farm jobs. Democrats lamented that the agreement that Trump`s team had originally negotiated with Canada and Mexico shared a mistake with the treaty it needed to improve: it would be difficult to implement. In talking to Trump`s top representative, Robert Lighthizer, Democrats were able to find language that would have allowed countries or businesses to avoid sanctions by simply refusing to participate in dispute resolution bodies. Trump`s version continues to allow free trade beyond the North American borders of the three countries. But it updates the pact to reflect the rise of e-commerce and other aspects of the digital economy that did not exist in the Nafta negotiations.
The pact is Trump`s proxy for the North American Free Trade Agreement that came into force in 1994. NAFTA has reduced tariffs and removed most of the barriers to trade within the continent. NAFTA has triggered a trade surge between the United States, Canada and Mexico. Republicans and the president complained about the time it took to conclude the negotiations, but the talks resulted in a rare mix of support for a trade deal. The AFL-CIO, a group of trade unions, supported the measure, as did many business and farmers` groups. “Getting this trade agreement approved by the Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO was not an easy task and it took the goodwill of both sides to bring us here,” said Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa. WASHINGTON (AP) – When President Donald Trump signed a revised trade agreement with Mexico and Canada on Wednesday, he kept a campaign promise to improve a deal he had long condemned. The passage of the trade law, now called USMCA, came a day after Trump signed a new trade agreement with China that eased trade tensions between economic powers. But the USMCA does not represent a revolutionary change