USMCA Inches Forward in Congress, but Time May Be Running Short

White & Case LLP

White & Case LLPWith just weeks remaining on the 2019 congressional calendar, a potential House vote on legislation to implement the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) remains in doubt. Negotiations between House Democrats and the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) on possible changes to the USMCA remain incomplete, despite weeks of additional talks following an initial exchange of written proposals and counter-proposals in September 2019. Moreover, if the two sides are able to reach agreement in the coming weeks, other procedural hurdles likely will need to be overcome before the House would vote on a USMCA bill, raising the potential for further delays. Opposition from key Democratic constituencies, most notably organized labor, and several Democratic presidential candidates may also have reduced the political incentive for House Democratic leadership to come to an agreement with USTR and to support the final deal. Given the limited time remaining on the 2019 congressional calendar, and the possibility that the presidential election will deter consideration of the Agreement in 2020, there is a significant chance that the USMCA will not be implemented in the near-term. This alert summarizes recent developments regarding the USMCA and the potential obstacles that remain.

Status of USTR-Working Group Negotiations

Over the past month, the Working Group of nine Democrats assigned by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to address USMCA issues has continued to meet with USTR, reportedly accelerating discussions following the initial exchange of USTR proposals and Working Group counter-proposals in September 2019 The two sides have held meetings and exchanged written proposals more frequently in recent weeks in an effort to finalize agreements on the USMCA's treatment of labor, environmental, pharmaceutical and enforcement issues. Congressional sources have indicated that House Democrats will not settle for a "handshake deal" or "agreement in principle" with USTR but instead have demanded agreed-upon written texts in all four issue areas.

The leader of the Working Group, House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA), has repeatedly expressed optimism that the two sides are close to completing these agreements, and other Members have explained that the parties are now focusing on specific textual issues (e. g. , the use of binding "shall" versus permissive "may") rather than high-level principles. Chairman Neal reiterated this optimism at a meeting with the Canadian government this week. Nevertheless, it does not appear that any of the four issue areas has been fully closed, and the two sides have not yet resolved the most contentious issue – binding enforcement of Mexican labor commitments. Indeed, despite his overall optimism, Chairman Neal suggested last week that USTR Lighthizer and his staff would need to engage directly with organized labor officials in order to reach a final compromise on the USMCA's labor and enforcement terms.

Congressional Consideration of Implementing Legislation

Given the aforementioned issues, it appears unlikely that USTR and the House Working Group will reach final agreements on the four core issue areas before mid-November at the earliest. This step, however, would not result in the immediate submission to Congress of the legislation needed to implement the USMCA under Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). Instead, at least two other, interrelated hurdles remain before House Democrats would agree to consider the implementing legislation:First, the USTR-Working Group agreements would need to be presented to Speaker Pelosi for her final approval. Second, USTR will likely need to conduct further negotiations with Mexico, and perhaps Canada, to obtain commitments consistent with what has been agreed between USTR and the Working Group. According to Mexican Under Secretary for North America Jesús Seade, any USTR-Working Group agreement would need be reviewed and approved by both Mexico and Canada.

Satisfying these pre-conditions may present additional complications: for example, it is unclear whether Mexico or Canada would agree to significant changes to the USMCA without Speaker Pelosi's approval, or whether Speaker Pelosi would sign off on the agreement prior to seeing whether Canada and Mexico have responded favorably. Although neither obstacle is insurmountable, they do complicate and likely delay the implementing legislation's arrival and consideration in Congress. Mexican officials have said that their review of the USMCA changes could take time if they are not viewed as being in Mexico"s interest, and that Mexico will not accept provisions permitting US inspections of specific Mexican factories, which some congressional Democrats have proposed.

Moreover, senior congressional sources have stated that House Democrats will insist on holding "mock markups" of the implementing bill to ensure transparency and to address Members' concerns. These markups could theoretically occur while USTR is negotiating with Mexico in order to expedite the process, but such an approach again raises concerns about whether House Democrats would agree to consider the USMCA implementing bill without first having official Mexican and Canadian sign-off.

Finally, concerns remain about whether there will be sufficient support for the final USMCA implementing legislation – a question complicated by the lack of published implementing legislation. On the Democratic side, lawmakers such as House Ways & Means trade subcommittee member Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) have indicated that they will oppose the USMCA at this time due to continuing concerns about Mexico's labor commitments, instead wishing to see whether the Mexican government will follow through in 2020 with labor reforms enacted this year. Moreover, it appears that most US labor unions could oppose the USMCA, despite the Trump administration's attempts to include in the agreement provisions designed to obtain union support. This week, the leaders of the twelve labor groups that comprise the AFL-CIO's Industrial Union Council (which represents more than 4. 5 million workers and includes the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers, the United Steelworkers, the United Automobile Workers, and United Mine Workers of America) sent a letter to Congress warning that they will oppose the USMCA unless "it is significantly improved and reflects our core recommendations" on labor and enforcement.

Several Democrats also have openly complained about the Trump administration's approach to seeking congressional approval of the USMCA, arguing that recent public criticism of House Democrats by Vice President Pence and other senior administration officials has made many Democrats less likely to support the final bill. For example, Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) recently criticized Vice President Pence for "politiciz[ing] USMCA when everyone is trying to get this done in an honest, bipartisan fashion. "Still other Democrats remain undecided because there is no implementing bill to consider. Rep. Haley Stevens (D-MI), for example, has expressed support for the USMCA but recently complained that lawmakers "still don't have the materials and it's up to the administration to produce it. "

Congressional Republicans, on the other hand, are expected to support the USMCA, in part to placate the US business community (which is actively engaged on the issue) and to support President Trump. However, given the likely extent of Democratic opposition, the administration can only afford to lose a few Republican votes, and some Republicans have recently expressed opposition, or demanded changes, to the agreement. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) has already stated that he will vote against the USMCA due to its "sunset" clause, scaling-back of investor-state dispute settlement, and automotive rules of origin, and it is likely that a handful of other "free market" Republicans will oppose the agreement on similar grounds (for example, recent reports of alleged administration demands that US automakers further localize production in order to obtain special treatment under the USMCA rules of origin). Other Republicans, moreover, might oppose the USMCA due to digital trade provisions that protect internet companies from third party liability in a manner similar to "Section 230" of the Communications Decency Act – a provision of US law that many Republicans allege allows internet companies to stifle conservative viewpoints. In a November 1, 2019 letter, for example, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) called for the removal of USMCA Article 19. 17, which he claimed would stymie "efforts to hold big tech companies accountable" by putting the United States in breach of the USMCA if Section 230 were ever revised.


Even if USTR and the Working Group can reach an agreement prior to the Thanksgiving holiday that greenlights submission of the USMCA implementing legislation, the remaining pre-conditions for congressional consideration of the bill, the bill's actual drafting, and the limited number of legislative days remaining in 2019 could delay a vote into 2020. (According to the latest House of Representatives Schedule, only 17 legislative days remain on the 2019 calendar, though days could be added particularly if they are needed for appropriations or other time-sensitive legislative business. )It remains possible that the parties can complete all of these steps in rapid succession, thus clearing the way for a December vote (despite TPA's much longer timelines), and House Democrats may indeed be motivated to move the bill in part to demonstrate that their agenda is not focused solely on impeachment proceedings. Congressional approval of the USMCA in 2019 therefore cannot be ruled out.

On the other hand, the aforementioned obstacles to a congressional vote on the USMCA this year are significant, and there is little margin for error at this stage. Perhaps for this reason, Speaker Pelosi recently declined to rule out the possibility that a USMCA vote would slip into next year. Should that delay occur, presidential election year politics might prevent the vote from occurring at all. Currently, all four of the top-tier Democratic Party presidential candidates – Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg – have expressed opposition to the USMCA as written. If the USTR-Working Group agreements do not soften the leading candidates' views (and those of organized labor), it is likely that each would demand that House Democrats vote "no" on any final USMCA implementing legislation, both on policy grounds and in order to deny President Trump a legislative victory heading into the election. Given this dynamic, and the historical difficulties associated with trade votes during election years (e. g. , the Trans-Pacific Partnership in 2016), Speaker Pelosi may be forced to shelve the USMCA bill in 2020, leaving the prospects for the USMCA's implementation uncertain.

[View source.]

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© White & Case LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

White & Case LLP

White & Case LLP on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
- hide

JD Supra Privacy Policy

Updated: May 25, 2018:

JD Supra is a legal publishing service that connects experts and their content with broader audiences of professionals, journalists and associations.

This Privacy Policy describes how JD Supra, LLC ("JD Supra" or "we," "us," or "our") collects, uses and shares personal data collected from visitors to our website (located at (our "Website") who view only publicly-available content as well as subscribers to our services (such as our email digests or author tools)(our "Services"). By using our Website and registering for one of our Services, you are agreeing to the terms of this Privacy Policy.

Please note that if you subscribe to one of our Services, you can make choices about how we collect, use and share your information through our Privacy Center under the "My Account" dashboard (available if you are logged into your JD Supra account).

Collection of Information

Registration Information. When you register with JD Supra for our Website and Services, either as an author or as a subscriber, you will be asked to provide identifying information to create your JD Supra account ("Registration Data"), such as your:

  • Email
  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Company Name
  • Company Industry
  • Title
  • Country

Other Information: We also collect other information you may voluntarily provide. This may include content you provide for publication. We may also receive your communications with others through our Website and Services (such as contacting an author through our Website) or communications directly with us (such as through email, feedback or other forms or social media). If you are a subscribed user, we will also collect your user preferences, such as the types of articles you would like to read.

Information from third parties (such as, from your employer or LinkedIn): We may also receive information about you from third party sources. For example, your employer may provide your information to us, such as in connection with an article submitted by your employer for publication. If you choose to use LinkedIn to subscribe to our Website and Services, we also collect information related to your LinkedIn account and profile.

Your interactions with our Website and Services: As is true of most websites, we gather certain information automatically. This information includes IP addresses, browser type, Internet service provider (ISP), referring/exit pages, operating system, date/time stamp and clickstream data. We use this information to analyze trends, to administer the Website and our Services, to improve the content and performance of our Website and Services, and to track users' movements around the site. We may also link this automatically-collected data to personal information, for example, to inform authors about who has read their articles. Some of this data is collected through information sent by your web browser. We also use cookies and other tracking technologies to collect this information. To learn more about cookies and other tracking technologies that JD Supra may use on our Website and Services please see our "Cookies Guide" page.

How do we use this information?

We use the information and data we collect principally in order to provide our Website and Services. More specifically, we may use your personal information to:

  • Operate our Website and Services and publish content;
  • Distribute content to you in accordance with your preferences as well as to provide other notifications to you (for example, updates about our policies and terms);
  • Measure readership and usage of the Website and Services;
  • Communicate with you regarding your questions and requests;
  • Authenticate users and to provide for the safety and security of our Website and Services;
  • Conduct research and similar activities to improve our Website and Services; and
  • Comply with our legal and regulatory responsibilities and to enforce our rights.

How is your information shared?

  • Content and other public information (such as an author profile) is shared on our Website and Services, including via email digests and social media feeds, and is accessible to the general public.
  • If you choose to use our Website and Services to communicate directly with a company or individual, such communication may be shared accordingly.
  • Readership information is provided to publishing law firms and authors of content to give them insight into their readership and to help them to improve their content.
  • Our Website may offer you the opportunity to share information through our Website, such as through Facebook's "Like" or Twitter's "Tweet" button. We offer this functionality to help generate interest in our Website and content and to permit you to recommend content to your contacts. You should be aware that sharing through such functionality may result in information being collected by the applicable social media network and possibly being made publicly available (for example, through a search engine). Any such information collection would be subject to such third party social media network's privacy policy.
  • Your information may also be shared to parties who support our business, such as professional advisors as well as web-hosting providers, analytics providers and other information technology providers.
  • Any court, governmental authority, law enforcement agency or other third party where we believe disclosure is necessary to comply with a legal or regulatory obligation, or otherwise to protect our rights, the rights of any third party or individuals' personal safety, or to detect, prevent, or otherwise address fraud, security or safety issues.
  • To our affiliated entities and in connection with the sale, assignment or other transfer of our company or our business.

How We Protect Your Information

JD Supra takes reasonable and appropriate precautions to insure that user information is protected from loss, misuse and unauthorized access, disclosure, alteration and destruction. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. You should keep in mind that no Internet transmission is ever 100% secure or error-free. Where you use log-in credentials (usernames, passwords) on our Website, please remember that it is your responsibility to safeguard them. If you believe that your log-in credentials have been compromised, please contact us at

Children's Information

Our Website and Services are not directed at children under the age of 16 and we do not knowingly collect personal information from children under the age of 16 through our Website and/or Services. If you have reason to believe that a child under the age of 16 has provided personal information to us, please contact us, and we will endeavor to delete that information from our databases.

Links to Other Websites

Our Website and Services may contain links to other websites. The operators of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using our Website or Services and click a link to another site, you will leave our Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We are not responsible for the data collection and use practices of such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of our Website and Services and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Information for EU and Swiss Residents

JD Supra's principal place of business is in the United States. By subscribing to our website, you expressly consent to your information being processed in the United States.

  • Our Legal Basis for Processing: Generally, we rely on our legitimate interests in order to process your personal information. For example, we rely on this legal ground if we use your personal information to manage your Registration Data and administer our relationship with you; to deliver our Website and Services; understand and improve our Website and Services; report reader analytics to our authors; to personalize your experience on our Website and Services; and where necessary to protect or defend our or another's rights or property, or to detect, prevent, or otherwise address fraud, security, safety or privacy issues. Please see Article 6(1)(f) of the E.U. General Data Protection Regulation ("GDPR") In addition, there may be other situations where other grounds for processing may exist, such as where processing is a result of legal requirements (GDPR Article 6(1)(c)) or for reasons of public interest (GDPR Article 6(1)(e)). Please see the "Your Rights" section of this Privacy Policy immediately below for more information about how you may request that we limit or refrain from processing your personal information.
  • Your Rights
    • Right of Access/Portability: You can ask to review details about the information we hold about you and how that information has been used and disclosed. Note that we may request to verify your identification before fulfilling your request. You can also request that your personal information is provided to you in a commonly used electronic format so that you can share it with other organizations.
    • Right to Correct Information: You may ask that we make corrections to any information we hold, if you believe such correction to be necessary.
    • Right to Restrict Our Processing or Erasure of Information: You also have the right in certain circumstances to ask us to restrict processing of your personal information or to erase your personal information. Where you have consented to our use of your personal information, you can withdraw your consent at any time.

You can make a request to exercise any of these rights by emailing us at or by writing to us at:

Privacy Officer
JD Supra, LLC
10 Liberty Ship Way, Suite 300
Sausalito, California 94965

You can also manage your profile and subscriptions through our Privacy Center under the "My Account" dashboard.

We will make all practical efforts to respect your wishes. There may be times, however, where we are not able to fulfill your request, for example, if applicable law prohibits our compliance. Please note that JD Supra does not use "automatic decision making" or "profiling" as those terms are defined in the GDPR.

  • Timeframe for retaining your personal information: We will retain your personal information in a form that identifies you only for as long as it serves the purpose(s) for which it was initially collected as stated in this Privacy Policy, or subsequently authorized. We may continue processing your personal information for longer periods, but only for the time and to the extent such processing reasonably serves the purposes of archiving in the public interest, journalism, literature and art, scientific or historical research and statistical analysis, and subject to the protection of this Privacy Policy. For example, if you are an author, your personal information may continue to be published in connection with your article indefinitely. When we have no ongoing legitimate business need to process your personal information, we will either delete or anonymize it, or, if this is not possible (for example, because your personal information has been stored in backup archives), then we will securely store your personal information and isolate it from any further processing until deletion is possible.
  • Onward Transfer to Third Parties: As noted in the "How We Share Your Data" Section above, JD Supra may share your information with third parties. When JD Supra discloses your personal information to third parties, we have ensured that such third parties have either certified under the EU-U.S. or Swiss Privacy Shield Framework and will process all personal data received from EU member states/Switzerland in reliance on the applicable Privacy Shield Framework or that they have been subjected to strict contractual provisions in their contract with us to guarantee an adequate level of data protection for your data.

California Privacy Rights

Pursuant to Section 1798.83 of the California Civil Code, our customers who are California residents have the right to request certain information regarding our disclosure of personal information to third parties for their direct marketing purposes.

You can make a request for this information by emailing us at or by writing to us at:

Privacy Officer
JD Supra, LLC
10 Liberty Ship Way, Suite 300
Sausalito, California 94965

Some browsers have incorporated a Do Not Track (DNT) feature. These features, when turned on, send a signal that you prefer that the website you are visiting not collect and use data regarding your online searching and browsing activities. As there is not yet a common understanding on how to interpret the DNT signal, we currently do not respond to DNT signals on our site.

Access/Correct/Update/Delete Personal Information

For non-EU/Swiss residents, if you would like to know what personal information we have about you, you can send an e-mail to We will be in contact with you (by mail or otherwise) to verify your identity and provide you the information you request. We will respond within 30 days to your request for access to your personal information. In some cases, we may not be able to remove your personal information, in which case we will let you know if we are unable to do so and why. If you would like to correct or update your personal information, you can manage your profile and subscriptions through our Privacy Center under the "My Account" dashboard. If you would like to delete your account or remove your information from our Website and Services, send an e-mail to

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Privacy Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our Privacy Policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use our Website and Services following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy, the practices of this site, your dealings with our Website or Services, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at:

JD Supra Cookie Guide

As with many websites, JD Supra's website (located at (our "Website") and our services (such as our email article digests)(our "Services") use a standard technology called a "cookie" and other similar technologies (such as, pixels and web beacons), which are small data files that are transferred to your computer when you use our Website and Services. These technologies automatically identify your browser whenever you interact with our Website and Services.

How We Use Cookies and Other Tracking Technologies

We use cookies and other tracking technologies to:

  1. Improve the user experience on our Website and Services;
  2. Store the authorization token that users receive when they login to the private areas of our Website. This token is specific to a user's login session and requires a valid username and password to obtain. It is required to access the user's profile information, subscriptions, and analytics;
  3. Track anonymous site usage; and
  4. Permit connectivity with social media networks to permit content sharing.

There are different types of cookies and other technologies used our Website, notably:

  • "Session cookies" - These cookies only last as long as your online session, and disappear from your computer or device when you close your browser (like Internet Explorer, Google Chrome or Safari).
  • "Persistent cookies" - These cookies stay on your computer or device after your browser has been closed and last for a time specified in the cookie. We use persistent cookies when we need to know who you are for more than one browsing session. For example, we use them to remember your preferences for the next time you visit.
  • "Web Beacons/Pixels" - Some of our web pages and emails may also contain small electronic images known as web beacons, clear GIFs or single-pixel GIFs. These images are placed on a web page or email and typically work in conjunction with cookies to collect data. We use these images to identify our users and user behavior, such as counting the number of users who have visited a web page or acted upon one of our email digests.

JD Supra Cookies. We place our own cookies on your computer to track certain information about you while you are using our Website and Services. For example, we place a session cookie on your computer each time you visit our Website. We use these cookies to allow you to log-in to your subscriber account. In addition, through these cookies we are able to collect information about how you use the Website, including what browser you may be using, your IP address, and the URL address you came from upon visiting our Website and the URL you next visit (even if those URLs are not on our Website). We also utilize email web beacons to monitor whether our emails are being delivered and read. We also use these tools to help deliver reader analytics to our authors to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

Analytics/Performance Cookies. JD Supra also uses the following analytic tools to help us analyze the performance of our Website and Services as well as how visitors use our Website and Services:

  • HubSpot - For more information about HubSpot cookies, please visit
  • New Relic - For more information on New Relic cookies, please visit
  • Google Analytics - For more information on Google Analytics cookies, visit To opt-out of being tracked by Google Analytics across all websites visit This will allow you to download and install a Google Analytics cookie-free web browser.

Facebook, Twitter and other Social Network Cookies. Our content pages allow you to share content appearing on our Website and Services to your social media accounts through the "Like," "Tweet," or similar buttons displayed on such pages. To accomplish this Service, we embed code that such third party social networks provide and that we do not control. These buttons know that you are logged in to your social network account and therefore such social networks could also know that you are viewing the JD Supra Website.

Controlling and Deleting Cookies

If you would like to change how a browser uses cookies, including blocking or deleting cookies from the JD Supra Website and Services you can do so by changing the settings in your web browser. To control cookies, most browsers allow you to either accept or reject all cookies, only accept certain types of cookies, or prompt you every time a site wishes to save a cookie. It's also easy to delete cookies that are already saved on your device by a browser.

The processes for controlling and deleting cookies vary depending on which browser you use. To find out how to do so with a particular browser, you can use your browser's "Help" function or alternatively, you can visit which explains, step-by-step, how to control and delete cookies in most browsers.

Updates to This Policy

We may update this cookie policy and our Privacy Policy from time-to-time, particularly as technology changes. You can always check this page for the latest version. We may also notify you of changes to our privacy policy by email.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about how we use cookies and other tracking technologies, please contact us at:

- hide

This website uses cookies to improve user experience, track anonymous site usage, store authorization tokens and permit sharing on social media networks. By continuing to browse this website you accept the use of cookies. Click here to read more about how we use cookies.