U.S. trade rep says USMCA is a 'better' deal after some labor concessions

U.S. Trade Representative Robert LighthizerRobert (Bob) Emmet LighthizerGOP senator warns quick vote on new NAFTA would be ‘huge mistake’ Pelosi casts doubt on USMCA deal in 2019 Pelosi sounds hopeful on new NAFTA deal despite tensions with White House MORE dismissed the idea of political costs to the administration after some Republicans signaled concern over concessions President Trump made to get Democrats on board with a trade deal with Mexico and Canada. 

“There are always process issues. This bill is better now with the exception of biologics, which is a big exception,” Lighthizer said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” referring to a 10-year data exclusivity period for biologic drugs that was dropped from the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) deal as part of the negotiation. 

“With the exception of biologics, it’s more enforceable and it’s better for American workers and American manufacturers and agriculture workers than it was before. For sure,” he added. 

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Lighthizer also noted that Democrats won the 2018 election to take control of the House. 

He also said his plan was always for USCMA to “be a Trump trade policy.”

“And a Trump trade policy is going to get a lot of Democratic support,” he said. “Remember, most of these working people voted for the president of the United States. These are not his enemies.”

“So what did we concede on? We conceded on biologics. Yes. That was a move away from what I wanted, for sure,” he continued. “But labor enforcement? There’s nothing about being against labor enforcement that’s Republican.”

But several Republican senators have expressed concern over the deal. 

Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyNSA improperly collected US phone records in October, new documents show Overnight Defense: Pick for South Korean envoy splits with Trump on nuclear threat | McCain blasts move to suspend Korean military exercises | White House defends Trump salute of North Korean general WH backpedals on Trump’s ‘due process’ remark on guns MORE (R-Penn.) said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the deal was a “complete capitulation” to speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump-Pelosi trade deal creates strife among progressives Trump: Pelosi’s teeth were ‘falling out of her mouth’ during press conference Schiff: I ‘hope to hell’ I would have voted to impeach Obama if he had committed same actions as Trump MORE (D-Calif.)

Sens. John CornynJohn CornynU.S. trade rep says USMCA is a ‘better’ deal after some labor concessions Trump scramble to rack up accomplishments gives conservatives heartburn On The Money: Trump, China announce ‘Phase One’ trade deal | Supreme Court takes up fight over Trump financial records | House panel schedules hearing, vote on new NAFTA deal MORE (R-Texas) and John Thunes (S.D.) said last week the deal could be “problematic”

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