After reaching agreement with congressional Democrats on the United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA) (see Trump and Trade Update of December 10, 2019), the Trump administration has forwarded to the Senate Finance Committee the necessary legislative text to implement the agreement. The House of Representatives’ Committee on Ways & Means will take up consideration of the legislation on December 17, with full House consideration and passage scheduled for December 19. While the House is expected to pass the bill before the holiday recess, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has announced that Senate passage will not occur until the chamber reconvenes in January 2020 and after other pending business is handled. In the House, the bill has been assigned bill number H.R. 5430.
In submitting the USMCA implementation legislation to the Congress, President Donald Trump also submitted a Statement of Administrative Action (SAA) representing the expression by his administration concerning its views regarding the interpretation and application of the USMCA, both for purposes of U.S. international obligations and domestic law. This SAA details the administrative actions proposed to implement U.S. obligations under the USMCA. In addition, it incorporated two other statements: (1) an explanation of how the implementing bill and proposed administrative action will change or affect existing law; and (2) a statement setting forth the reasons why the implementing bill and proposed administrative action are necessary or appropriate to carry out the USMCA. The SAA notes that “[a]lthough the USMCA is a comprehensive overhaul of the NAFTA [North America Free Trade Agreement], many provisions of NAFTA are replicated so that the treatment the United States has committed to provide to Canada and Mexico remains the same.”