“There is no appetite in Congress to debate USMCA with these tariffs in place,” the Senate Finance Committee chairman wrote in The Wall Street Journal.
In a direct message to President Donald Trump, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed published Monday titled “Trump’s Tariffs End or His Trade Deal Dies.”
Grassley (pictured above) wrote that he has met with congressional colleagues and U.S., Mexican and Canadian trade officials to discuss how the countries’ legislatures will approve the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), adding that Section 232 tariffs on Mexico and Canada and associated retaliation threaten USMCA’s prospects of passage in Mexico’s Congress, Canadian Parliament and U.S. Congress.
“Canadian and Mexican trade officials may be more delicate in their language, but they’re diplomats,” he wrote. “I’m not. If these tariffs aren’t lifted, USMCA is dead. There is no appetite in Congress to debate USMCA with these tariffs in place.”
Retaliatory tariffs have been very detrimental to many Americans, Grassley said. Mexican tariffs on U.S. pork have decreased the value of live hogs by $12 an animal, for example, he said.
Grassley also noted he agreed with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer’s testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee earlier this year that failing to pass USMCA in 2019 would damage the credibility of the United States’ trade agenda, including efforts to reach a deal with China.
“The administration can take the lead by promptly lifting tariffs on steel and aluminum from Canada and Mexico and working with allies to address the true source of overcapacity: China,” Grassley said. “This essential step is fully within the administration’s control and would immediately clear a significant hurdle to passage.”
Grassley also called on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and congressional Democrats to engage in good faith to pass USMCA this year.
“USMCA is good for the environment, for workers, for jobs and for nearly every sector of America’s economy,” he said. “I hope Washington rises to the occasion.”