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Pelosi Seeks Trade Pact Passage by Year's End

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Nov. 14, 2019.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday said a breakthrough in talks with the Trump administration on the trade pact with Mexico and Canada could be imminent and that she wanted to pass the deal by the end of the year.

"We are moving positively in terms of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement. Again, it all comes down to ... enforcement," she told reporters at a news conference. "I do believe that if we can get this to the place it needs to be, which is imminent, that this can be a template for future trade agreements."

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), signed by
the three countries about a year ago to replace the $1 trillion North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), must be passed by lawmakers in all three countries. Mexico has already ratified the new deal, while Canada has said it is waiting to move in tandem with the United States.

The office of Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland was not immediately available for comment on Pelosi's remarks.

Complaints from White House

U.S. President Donald Trump and other administration officials have complained that Pelosi and her fellow Democrats, who control the House of Representatives, are holding back the U.S. economy by slow-walking USMCA's passage.

But a major U.S. labor leader, AFL-CIO union chief Richard Trumka, said last month that the deal was unlikely to pass as is if put to a vote in November, given lingering concerns about labor and other issues.

"I'd like to see us get it done this year. That would be my goal. I don't imagine that it would take much more in the Senate to pass," Pelosi told reporters Thursday. Trump's fellow Republicans control the U.S. Senate.

Separately, U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, testifying before a House of Representatives panel, said that the deal's passage would help remove uncertainty and would be very constructive for the U.S. economy.