As the country moves closer to the November election, President Joe Biden’s aides are scrambling to work out a trade pact with Mexico and Canada, that could be a powerful tool for his re-election but some Democrats fear it could ultimately help President Donald Trump.
The pact, known as the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement or USMCA, is a renegotiated version of the decades-old NAFTA trade deal. It seeks to update the terms of trade between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada, aiming to help level the playing field between the three countries and reduce economic inequality.
The President has strongly supported the USMCA but the agreement has been criticized by some Democrats, who fear it will help Trump because they believe the agreement would spur economic growth and create jobs in the three countries. This could boost Trump and help him win a second term.
To allay those fears, Biden’s aides are scrambling to provide assurances that the USMCA is more than just a job and economic initiative. They are pushing to include enforcement provisions that would protect labor and environmental standards while also preventing companies from outsourcing to countries with lower labor protections.
The Biden administration is also seeking to add provisions that would strengthen dispute resolution mechanisms, protect intellectual property, and strengthen digital trade. They believe these details will show that the USMCA is more than just a trade agreement, and is instead a comprehensive policy agenda that benefits all three countries.
The pact is currently under review in the Senate and could be voted on soon. It’s likely the agreement will pass, though many Democrats are still worried it could ultimately help Trump. Biden and his aides would argue that they are taking all the necessary steps to ensure the pact benefits all three countries, and that fear mongering from Democrats on the issue is unfounded. Regardless, the Biden administration is racing against the clock to lock in a major foreign policy achievement before the November election.