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US Congress 'on a path to yes' on USMCA trade deal: Pelosi

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The Democratic-controlled US Congress is making progress towards approving a new free trade agreement with Canada and Mexico soon, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Wednesday.

[WASHINGTON] The Democratic-controlled US Congress is making progress towards approving a new free trade agreement with Canada and Mexico soon, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Wednesday.

"We're on a path to yes as far as the trade agreement is concerned," Ms Pelosi told reporters, saying Democratic leaders are continuing to work with President Donald Trump's trade officials.

Nearly a year after it was signed by the United States, Canada and Mexico, the future of the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) - a revamp to the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement - remains in doubt.

But Ms Pelosi said House Democrats can work with the administration despite the impeachment proceedings underway against Trump.

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"We have a good working relationship. Believe me, the quiet you hear is progress," she said at a media briefing.

"We're trying to find common ground with the president. He always wanted this. We do too," she said.

While Mexico has ratified the treaty and it has made progress in Canada, Democrats say reforms to regulations governing Mexican labourers, which are meant to protect US industry from exploitative competition, are so far insufficient.

Ms Pelosi said she remains concerned about the ability to ensure American farmers and worker are protected from unfair competition.

"We either have enforceability or we don't. But I'm hopeful that we will and I'm hopeful that it will be soon," she said.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador earlier on Wednesday expressed confidence the US Congress would approve the treaty soon, despite the worsening tensions over the impeachment proceedings.

"The information I have is that both parties view the agreement favourably... and are overcoming their differences on this issue," he said.

"Despite the political and electoral differences that happen in any democracy... they are separating that from the issue of how important this agreement is for the economy and for trade."

AFP