Lighthizer commits to working to ‘plus up’ USMCA enforcement tools



Megan Cassella | Politico

The top U.S. trade official pledged to work with congressional Democrats to bolster enforcement provisions in the new North American trade agreement, a step that could generate support on both sides of the aisle for the new deal.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told members of the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday that although he feels the enforcement mechanisms as written would keep Canada and Mexico in line with the agreement’s standards, he will also work with lawmakers “to the extent they want to plus it up.”

“There’s room to do that. I’m certainly happy to do that,” Lighthizer said during a hearing focused on the Trump administration’s trade agenda and the USMCA.

Enforcement has emerged as the chief reason why many Democrats have so far withheld their support for the agreement, which the Trump administration is focused on getting passed this year.

“Particularly when it comes to enforcement, there’s some hard work left to be done,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the top Democrat on the Finance Committee, said in his opening statement.

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