MEXICO CITY—Mexico’s Senate voted overwhelmingly on June 19 to ratify a new free trade agreement with the United States and Canada, making it the first of the three countries to gain legislative approval.
Mexico’s upper chamber voted 114 to four with three abstentions in favor of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA. U.S. President Donald Trump had demanded a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement that it will replace.
✔️ USMCA moves ahead in @senadomexicano.
✔ The Senate of ???????? ratified #USMCA with 114 votes in favor, 4 against and 3 abstentions.
— EmbamexEUA (@EmbamexEUA) June 19, 2019
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said in a recorded message that the vote was “very good news.”
“It means foreign investment in Mexico, it means jobs in Mexico, it means guaranteeing trade of the merchandise that we produce in the United States,” he said.
Mexico’s economy ministry in a statement said that with the approval “Mexico sends a clear message in favor of an open economy and of deepening its economic integration in the region.”
Mexican lawmakers had already executed a series of labor reforms that the U.S. had demanded.
The #USMCA is a massive win for the American people! Following through on his pledge to get rid of NAFTA, the new trade deal President @realDonaldTrump negotiated will give America’s farmers access to new markets.
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) June 18, 2019
Sen. Ricardo Monreal, leader of the governing party in the Senate, said the vote was “an important step to diminish the existing uncertainty for North American trade.”
The treaty is still awaiting consideration by lawmakers in the United States and Canada.
— GOP (@GOP) June 15, 2019
Ratification of the agreement still faces some opposition in the Democrat-controlled U.S. House of Representatives.
The digital economy accounts for 5 million American jobs. NAFTA was passed a quarter-century ago, before many of these technologies even existed. USMCA is our opportunity to reposition America as the global leader.
“We can’t afford to let it slip away.”https://t.co/bZ033frQSh
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) June 13, 2019
On May 30, the same day that Mexico’s government formally presented the USMCA agreement to its Senate, Trump announced via Twitter that he would begin imposing tariffs on all Mexican imports unless Mexico slowed the flow of Central American migrants to their shared border.
Days of negotiations averted the tariffs and Mexico is implementing measures to lower the number of migrants crossing its territory.
By Christopher Sherman