The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly approved the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement on Thursday and passed the pact to President Donald Trump for signature just one day after the signing of a respected trade agreement with China.
The senators, who were just approved as the chamber prepares for impeachment against Trump, voted 89-10 in favor of the conclusion of the agreement, which replaces the North American free trade agreement. Trump has repeatedly criticized NAFTA and blamed the 26-year pact for sending American jobs abroad. He had threatened to pull the US out of this three-way deal without changes.
The new deal changes the trading rules between the three countries. These include higher thresholds for the amount of automobiles that must be manufactured in North America to trade vehicles duty free. better access to the Canadian milk market and easier union formation for Mexican workers.
The USMCA received a strong buy-in from Democrats after making changes to strengthen its labor, environmental, and other regulations. Only one Republican, Pat Toomey from Pennsylvania, voted against. The senator has accused him of restricting trade.
The Senate's adoption on Thursday followed a 385-41 vote in the House of Representatives last month.
See: "Obsolete" NAFTA a step away from sinking after House signed a new trade deal with Canada and Mexico.
Before Trump signed the China deal on Wednesday, he said the USMCA should be approved shortly and "we'll talk about that next week."
Mexico passed the USMCA, but Canada also has to ratify it to enter into force. That could come in late January when the lower house gathers.
The USMCA vote took place when the Senate was preparing to impeach Trump and the voters were preparing to start the presidential election. Senator Bernie Sanders, who is number 2 on average in national polls for the Democratic President's nomination, voted against the deal. The hopeful White House senator Elizabeth Warren agreed. Warren is in third place nationwide, according to an average of RealClearPolitics surveys.
Read now: Sanders says he will not vote for USMCA, although there are "modest improvements".
US equity benchmarks
DJIA, + 0.63%
hit a new all-day high on Thursday after the China Trade Agreement was signed and healthy US economic data released on Thursday.
See: The stock market benchmarks set new records as investors are optimistic about the US-China trade agreement.