U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday that progress was being made to address Democrats’ concerns about a trade pact with Canada and Mexico, but that it will take time to write the bill and bring it to a vote.
The “USMCA” deal, which will replace the $1 trillion North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, faces opposition from labor unions which worry that it will not protect U.S. jobs.
Speaking to reporters at the U.S. Capitol, Pelosi repeated that ensuring enforceability of workers’ rights, environmental protections and other terms was essential for Democrats to sign on, adding that progress needed to be made in a meeting with the U.S. trade representative on Thursday.
“You are either for enforcement or you are for niceties, and we want to have both,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi is scheduled to meet with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in Congress on Thursday about the bill.
Democrats are still waiting for details on enforcement, she said outside her office at noon. “That’s the one place we have not had the assurance, but we’re talking.”
(Reporting by Richard Cowan; Writing by Tim Ahmann and Heather Timmons; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jonathan Oatis)