December 18, 2019
Today, Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52) voted to support the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), a trilateral agreement that updates the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. The agreement includes sweeping bipartisan measures that protect the environment, provide stronger labor standards, and bolster intellectual property protections, which were negotiated among the House of Representatives, United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Mexico, and Canada. The USMCA now moves to the Senate for approval. If that chamber also approves, it will go to President Trump for his signature. Both Mexico and Canada must approve the trade deal for it to take effect.
While in Congress, Rep. Peters has championed strong trade agreements, advocating for the U.S. to lead the push for stronger guidelines in international trading. During an October address to the U.S.-Mexico Inter-Parliamentary Group, Rep. Peters called on the U.S. and Mexico to finish negotiations and complete a deal. In July, Rep. Peters and Rep. Colin Allred (TX-32) led more than a dozen other pro-trade Democrats to send a letter to Speaker Pelosi, urging her to act on the USMCA. In 2015, he voted for the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) in support of President Obama’s proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership. He opposed the Trump Administration’s decision to abandon the agreement.
“As a representative of San Diego and the Vice Chair of the New Democrat Coalition, I have fought for carefully negotiated trade agreements that can bring lasting economic prosperity. Thankfully, both Republicans and Democrats recognize we need this robust, lasting trade agreement and a bipartisan group of my colleagues supported the USMCA. The Speaker and House Democrats successfully negotiated strong environmental protections and labor standards that vastly improve upon standards set in NAFTA.
“Trade drives our region’s economy and supports nearly 40,000 jobs in San Diego. This agreement builds on the last two decades of trade between our three nations and will provide hundreds of millions of dollars for border water infrastructure that can address Tijuana sewage spills. I hope the Senate will swiftly approve the deal so San Diegans—and Americans—can prosper from trade with Mexico and Canada in coming years,” said Rep. Peters.
The USMCA also includes these priorities and imperatives:
- Funding to help address Tijuana sewage spills and other border environmental infrastructure projects: $215 million for the North American Development Bank, and $300 million for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Border Water Infrastructure Program (BWIP) that can address pollution, including runoff flowing through the Tijuana River Valley
- Oversight for environmental standards and cleanliness funds: $8 million for NOAA to better regulate illegal fishing, $4 million to the EPA for an environmental cooperation commission, $8 million to pull debris from the ocean
- Requires the United States, Mexico, and Canada to adhere to seven multilateral environmental agreements, including the Montreal Protocol
- Creates an assumption that environmental violations affect trade and investment, allowing for better enforcement of environmental standards and adjudication of offenses
- Ensures new labor standards in Mexico are enforceable by establishing a new independent review body and interagency committee and oversight attaché positions in Mexico
- Modifies existing process for enforcement and rule violation adjudication, like a new presumption that violations negatively impact trade
- Provides funding to ensure labor provisions are enforced: $30 million to the United States Trade Representative; $30 million to the Department of Labor (DOL) to monitor performance of labor agreements and fund new attaché positions; $180 million in grants for the DOL to assist Mexico in implementing labor reforms