Biden Says He Supports USMCA, Citing Provisions for Labor

Tyler Pager

(Bloomberg) -- Joe Biden said Friday he supported the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade accord, praising the enforcement mechanisms of the deal a day after some of his top rivals expressed reservations about it.

“What I’ve seen change is that the vast majority of the labor movement supported it,” Biden told reporters at a Mexican restaurant in Los Angeles.

Biden also pointed out that the deal passed by the House on Thursday was altered by Democrats, emphasizing the elimination of loopholes for drug companies and strengthening enforcement mechanisms for labor and environmental standards.

During the Democratic debate in Los Angeles on Thursday, Bernie Sanders said he opposed the deal, while Elizabeth Warren told reporters after the forum that she was still evaluating it. The agreement, known as USMCA, is one of President Donald Trump’s key priorities.

“My concern is it has nothing on the environment and that’s really important, especially for the competition with our own companies,” Warren said. “And, we have a global climate crisis. But it is better on some provisions for labor. It’s much better on investor-state dispute resolution. So I’m taking a close look at the varied details to see how to weigh this.”

Sanders said when asked during the debate that he would not support the deal, even though he considers it an improvement over the North American Free Trade Agreement, which it is meant to replace.

“It is not going to stop outsourcing, it is not going to stop corporations from moving to Mexico,” he said on the debate stage.

The new trade pact passed the House on a 385-41 vote, with strong bipartisan support. The Republican-led Senate won’t take it up until next year, after finishing the impeachment trial of Trump. The legislation can’t be amended and will need just a simple majority to pass the Senate, according to fast-track trade powers Congress gave the president in 2015.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tyler Pager in Washington at tpager1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at wbenjaminson@bloomberg.net, Max Berley

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