“We need to have this ratified,” says GGC chair
By Jonathan Martin
Canada’s House of Commons adjourned yesterday, with the unratified U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) still hanging in limbo.
Mexico’s Senate voted to ratify the agreement 114-4 Wednesday, becoming the first country to approve the North American Free Trade Agreement’s (NAFTA’s) replacement.
However, Canadian MPs voted unanimously to rise Wednesday night, which could signal the end of the Liberal majority’s legislative program.
In its final act of this sitting, the Liberals passed the bill to ratify USMCA into the committee stage. The House International Trade Committee will now decide whether to hold meetings over the summer to examine the agreement.
“We need to have certainty brought back,” Jeff Nielsen, chairman of the Grain Growers of Canada, told Farms.com. “We need to have this ratified so that we can see the certainty in the markets for our exports into the U.S.”
In 2017, the three countries traded nearly C$1.5 trillion worth of goods.
The Liberals are willing to recall Parliament to ratify the new NAFTA, the Canadian Press reports through an anonymous source. All business of the House of Commons and Senate is terminated when a parliamentary session ends, though, so if USMCA isn’t ratified by mid-September, it will “die on the order paper.”
“I think Prime Minister Trudeau wants this deal done too,” Nielsen said. “It is, and kind of always has been, a bit of a waiting game for farmers right now.”
Trudeau was in the U.S. capital on Thursday to discuss ratification with U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Trudeau said he and his government would move “in tandem” with their American counterparts toward ratifying the agreement.
The U.S. Congress is set to break for the summer at the end of July but Pelosi is still pushing for stronger enforcement tools, labor and environmental protections and provisions on pharmaceuticals. Ratification must happen in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico before USMCA can come into effect.