Mexico becomes first country to ratify USMCA trade deal via Senate vote

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Mexico's President Obrador holds a news conference in Mexico City© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Mexico’s President Obrador holds a news conference in Mexico City

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico on Wednesday became the first country to ratify the -Mexico- Agreement (USMCA) agreed last year by the three countries to replace the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

By an overwhelming majority, Mexico’s Senate backed the trade deal negotiated between 2017 and 2018 after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to withdraw from NAFTA if he could not get a better trade deal for the United States.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador had already said the deal would be ratified this week in the Senate, where his leftist National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) and its allies have a comfortable majority in the 128-member chamber.

There has been little parliamentary opposition in Mexico to trying to safeguard market access to United States, by far Mexico’s most important export market, and the deal was backed by nearly all the opposition lawmakers who voted.

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The USMCA was ratified with 114 Senators voting in favor and four against. There were three abstentions.

Three of the four votes against the deal came from MORENA senators, as did one abstention. The other vote against the deal was from an independent senator, while two members of the center-right National Action Party (PAN) also abstained.

Seven senators were not present for the vote.

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