WASHINGTON — The Senate Finance Committee on Jan. 7 approved legislation implementing the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) by a 25-to-3 vote and sent the bill to the full Senate for its consideration and vote. It was not known when the Senate will take up the legislation. The House of Representative passed the bill before the winter recess.

Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa, chairman of the finance committee, said, “Today is years in the making. President Trump ran on updating the former North American trade deal. Soon, the entire country will benefit as a result.

“I commend President Trump, Ambassador Lighthizer and my colleagues in Congress for their hard work in getting to this point. This modernized trilateral trade agreement will open new markets for American exporters, create hundreds of thousands of new jobs, grow the national economy and protect US workers. I expect the full Senate will act soon and that final approval of USMCA is just around the corner. That is good news for millions of farmers, manufacturers and workers in every corner of America.”

 Ranking member Ron Wyden of Oregon, said, “Thanks to hard work by my colleagues on the Finance Committee and in the House, this new NAFTA delivers long-overdue upgrades to labor standards, the environment and digital trade, while providing certainty to farmers and manufacturers who have been hammered in recent years. The overwhelming bipartisan committee vote today is a testament to all of the members who put in the elbow grease to make sure the new NAFTA puts American workers front and center.”

The National Pork Producers Council released a statement expressing appreciation for the step forward from the Senate.

“We thank Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley for making USMCA passage a top priority and we thank those members of the committee who support this important trade deal,” said National Pork Producers Council President David Herring, “USMCA will allow the US pork industry to maintain long-term, zero-duty market access to two of our largest export markets. We now urge Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to schedule a vote on the floor as soon as possible.”