U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has a simple message for President Donald Trump: end the tariffs against Canada and Mexico, or his signature trade deal between those nations and the United States will go down in flames.
Writing an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that was published on Monday, Grassley explained directly to the president, a member of his own party, that the USMCA (U.S.-Mexico-Canada) trade deal negotiated late last year by the three nations wouldn’t have a chance of passing Congressional muster unless the tariffs were removed.
“These levies are a tax on Americans, and they jeopardize USMCA’s prospects of passage in the Mexican Congress, Canadian Parliament and U.S. Congress,” Grassley wrote.
The senator didn’t parse his words, either. “Canadian and Mexican trade officials may be more delicate in their language, but they’re diplomats. I’m not,” Grassley said. “If these tariffs aren’t lifted, USMCA is dead.”
Grassley is the chair of the Senate Finance Committee. The USMCA agreement must be passed by Congress before it becomes official, and Grassley, as chairman of that committee, would have a say on whether it gets to a full Senate vote or not.
Steel and aluminum tariffs on Mexico and Canada are a tax on Americans and if they aren't lifted, "USMCA is dead," Grassley declares. "There is no appetite in Congress to debate USMCA with these tariffs in place." https://t.co/4oYNr3FQCz
— Peter Baker (@peterbakernyt) April 29, 2019
Grassley explained that the tariffs on steel and aluminum on products coming from Canada and Mexico hurt businesses in America, but that the response from those tariffs on American exports also hurt farmers in the U.S.
“Jobs, wages and communities are hurt every day these tariffs continue — as I hear directly from Iowans,” Grassley added.
The USMCA replaces NAFTA, a trade deal Trump constantly derided on the campaign trail and said he would replace. Though Trump is making great pains to do so, it appears that the difference between the two trade deals is negligible, per reporting from Quartz.
An analysis from the U.S. International Trade Commission found that, at best, the USMCA would improve the economy by about 0.4 percent — but that’s only if there’s a rosy set of circumstances that follow its implementation. The new agreement could also be a worse deal for workers in the U.S., the report found, possibly slightly reducing the nation’s GDP as well as lowering wages for workers overall.