Jan 15 2020
Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today voted in the Appropriations Committee in favor of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, known as USMCA, a replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA.
“I voted yes on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement because I believe it will benefit California and the United States. It’s an improvement over the first NAFTA that I voted against in 1993. Its provisions on labor, the environment and agriculture are greatly improved.
“There are several provisions in the agreement that will help California, including $300 million to address pollution from the Tijuana River; greater access to Canadian agricultural markets, including dairy; and labor provisions that go far beyond past trade agreements.
“I recognize that some critics think we can do more to protect the environment and fight climate change, and I agree. But this agreement takes important steps in that area. In addition to fighting pollution along the southern border, the agreement prevents illegal and unregulated fishing and makes it easier for countries to issue regulations in the public interest.
“This agreement is a step in the right direction, in large part due to important improvements made by House Democrats. Those improvements helped secure strong labor and environmental provisions and will go a long way toward stabilizing our trade relationships with Mexico and Canada, two of the most important trading partners for California and the nation.
“I think it’s notable that this agreement has broad bipartisan support, a sign that Congress can still work together to get important things done.”
Canada and Mexico are two of the largest trading partners with the United States, each accounting for more than $600 billion in trade. And the two countries are California’s two largest export markets, buying nearly $50 billion of California’s exports each year.
Key labor provisions:
- Requires Mexico to improve its labor laws, including collective bargaining reforms; establishing independent labor courts and union dispute resolution bodies; and eliminating compulsory labor.
- Creates a presumption that labor violations will affect trade and investment.
- Establishes benchmarks for Mexico’s compliance with its labor obligations that would trigger a new labor-specific enforcement mechanism if not met.
Key environmental provisions:
- Requires parties to adopt statutes and regulations consistent with environmental agreements and improve their levels of environmental protection.
- Improves environmental standards, monitoring and enforcement, including a presumption that an environmental violation would trigger enforcement and enhanced commitments to comply with environmental agreements.
- Authorizes North American Development Bank and EPA grant funding to address pollution along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Key agriculture provisions:
- Lowers barriers to dairy, poultry and egg exports to Canada.
- Adds rules to govern the naming of products from distinct geographical regions like Napa Valley wines, Canadian whiskey and tequila.