Mexico’s president urges Democrats to move forward on trade deal

MEXICO CITY, Mexico (NBC) – Mexico’s president is urging House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to make a decision about the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, saying it’s time to move forward with the trade deal.

President Lopez Obrador said Mexican senators have accepted changes to the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) presented by the government Sunday amid an intense back-and-forth between the countries.

Both sides are trying to hammer out final changes to satisfy American Democrats’ demands.

Mexico’s president said he “respectfully requests” Pelosi to take action on the deal, which was struck more than a year ago but must be ratified by legislators in the three countries before it goes into effect.

Mexican lawmakers earlier this year approved the USMCA, which would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. But Democratic lawmakers have held up ratification over concerns about how labor and environmental provisions would be enforced.

The United States added an additional request over the weekend, relating to how steel is identified as North American, a key part of the deal aimed at keeping more industry in the region.

In one concession, Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Sunday that the country would accept the U.S. demand on steel, which could affect what steel is defined as Mexican, if the rule took effect at least five years after the trade pact’s ratification.

It was not immediately clear whether the United States would accept those conditions.

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