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Warner backs USMCA in Finance Committee vote

mark warnerU.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., addressed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement before voting in favor of the deal during a Finance Committee vote.

In his opening remarks, Sen. Warner expressed optimism for the deal’s positive impact on Virginia’s farmers, but noted his concern regarding the Trump administration’s erratic approach to trade, and the impact that these strained interactions could have on our nation’s relationship with key allies and partners abroad.

“I’m optimistic that this trade agreement will help American farmers, ports, manufacturers, retailers, and workers. As others have pointed out, the deal addresses issues like digital trade, that NAFTA couldn’t fully anticipate and decreases market barriers to agricultural products that have been huge points of concern for Virginia farmers,” Sen. Warner said in the committee hearing. “Overall, I’m hopeful that this agreement will provide the consistency and stability that the business community needs. At the same time, I worry that the process that led us to this point may result in reduced U.S. credibility and trust from our allies and closest trading partners. Throughout the negotiation process, the President’s efforts to levy tariffs on Canada and Mexico, and to make repeated threats to withdraw from NAFTA or to heedlessly close the border with Mexico, have exemplified the troubling and erratic approach to trade issues that we’ve seen from the Administration.

“Alienating our closest allies with the misuse of national security tariffs is counterproductive and endangers American security,” Warner said. “That is why Sen. Toomey and I have offered the Bicameral Trade Authority Act, to curb abuses of 232 authority. I’m hopeful that with ratification of this deal will offer an opportunity for this committee to reexamine those efforts in a bipartisan fashion.”

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement was officially signed by the three participating countries on November 30th, 2018. In the wake of pressure from Democrats, led by Speaker Pelosi, the Trump Administration announced on Dec. 9 the addition of new labor protections and enforcement provisions.

Soon after, Sen. Warner announced his support of the USMCA, which intends to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

The USMCA, which passed the House of Representatives by a 385-41 vote, awaits consideration in the Senate.

Augusta Health Augusta Free Press Kris McMackin CPA
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Augusta Free Press