The ratification of the ACEUM by Congress “must pass through the abolition of tariffs”

La ratification de l'ACEUM par le Congrès «doit passer par l’abolition des tarifs»

Photo: Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images / Agence France-Presse
The representative Kevin Brady, an influential member of the ways and means Committee and of the House, recalled Tuesday that the support Agreement United States–Canada–Mexico (ACEUM) vary a lot in the Capitol.

An influential member of the u.s. Congress in the case of international trade says that republicans and democrats will not support the trade agreement in north america signed by the president, Donald Trump as the customs duties punitive damages on the steel and the aluminum will be maintained.

The representative Kevin Brady, an influential member of the ways and means Committee and of the House, who is responsible for the international trade, recalled Tuesday that the support Agreement United States–Canada–Mexico (ACEUM) vary a lot in the Capitol. But according to Mr. Brady, there is a consensus : the customs duty on steel and aluminum must be abolished, and they should not be replaced by quotas.

The leaders of Canada, the United States and Mexico have signed the new agreement on 30 November on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires. The three countries must now ratify the ACEUM by their legislatures, respectively.

Mr. Brady was part Tuesday, a group of experts of the ACEUM at a conference in Washington, alongside Perrin Beatty, president of the Chamber of commerce, and Kenneth Smith Ramos, chief negotiator of the agreement for Mexico. Mr. Beatty, a former minister in the Mulroney government, was in power at the time for the negotiation of the first agreement of free trade canado-american and then for the north american agreement with Mexico.

Any discussion on the ACEUM deviates quickly to the future of the agreement to the u.s. Congress and to the tariffs imposed by the White House under the national security act. Mr. Brady argued Tuesday that the process of “pointing” to the Congress was underway to draw up an inventory of supporters and opponents of the agreement — and what motivates them — to help us Trade representative Robert Lighthizer, the do accept at the Capitol.

Some democrats are particularly concerned by the fact that the ACEUM lack of efficient tools to enforce the provisions relating to conditions of work and to the environment. Of the republicans, according to Mr. Brady, are concerned about them from the erosion of the safeguard mechanisms between investors and States, as well as the clause “twilight” six years ago — to which Canada has staunchly opposed.

As a result, it is still too early to predict at what time a ratification vote could take place at the Congress, in particular on a background of partial paralysis of the us federal government and of political battle on the wall on the us-mexico’s president Donald Trump.

Common sense

Even if common sense would dictate that neither Canada nor Mexico do not ratify the agreement before the United States, it might be useful to rethink this approach to encourage the Congress to act and to discourage amendments to the agreement, has supported Miriam Sapiro, a democrat who was us Trade representative acting under president Barack Obama in 2013. Ms. Sapiro considers that the ratification of the agreement in Ottawa and Mexico city would make it more difficult for the critics in Congress who want to reopen the ACEUM.

It is essential, according to it, the Congress ratifies the agreement by five months, in order to avoid finding oneself in the midst of the federal election of October in Canada and the next presidential campaign in the United States. Mrs. Sapiro is also very healthy that a number of elected americans, both democrats and republicans, expressed their concern in the face of this agreement : a consensus too wide would sow distrust, she estimated.

Perrin Beatty, himself, said he was less enthusiastic in the face of this agreement : while some call” NAFTA 2.0 “, he sees it as an agreement which is less important than the” NAFTA 1.0 “, its predecessor. Mr. Beatty is all the same relieved that Canada was able to conclude an agreement ” 0.8 “in this new era of” trade boxes “.

“We must not judge it by the yardstick of our initial aspirations […] but looking at the option that was on the table. And this option, it was potentially a trade war between Canada and the United States, and the loss of something for which we had worked very hard. “


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