Trump’s Mexico / Canada trade deal in jeopardy

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump is under growing pressure to remove tariffs on aluminum and steel as the White House pushes for approval of a massive new trade deal with Mexico and Canada.

A key Republican senator, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, said this week there is no appetite in Congress to even debate the new trade agreement as long as the tariffs remain in place. Unless Trump removes them, the trade deal is dead, he wrote in a column for the Wall Street Journal.

Demands to lift the levies also are coming from abroad. The new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement must be approved by all three countries, but leaders in Mexico and Canada say they don’t see a path forward while the tariffs are in effect.

“I don’t see (the pact) advancing in any of the three countries with the steel and aluminum tariffs in place,” said Daniel Ujczo, an Ohio-based attorney who specializes in international trade. “I think that’s true in Washington, Ottawa and Mexico City.”

What’s more, congressional Democrats and some labor groups are demanding other changes before the agreement can be approved. They want a mechanism in place to enforce the new labor rules Mexico is required to adopt under the new trade deal as a way to protect workers’ rights.

More than six months have passed since a triumphant Trump stood in the White House Rose Garden and announced that, after 13 months of negotiations, the United States had struck a new trade deal with Mexico and Canada.