U.S. Trade Representative to submit USMCA ideas to Democrats: source

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer testifies before a Senate Finance Committee hearing on “The President’s 2019 Trade Policy Agenda and the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement” on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 18, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Trump administration on Wednesday will submit to U.S. House of Representatives Democrats its latest proposals for addressing the lawmakers’ concerns with the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal, according to a source familiar with the issue.

The source, who asked not to be identified, said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer informed senior House Republicans that he will send the response to a working group comprised of House Democrats.

Congressional approval of the “USMCA,” which would replace NAFTA, is a high priority of President Donald Trump.

In the past he has threatened to pull out of NAFTA, which he sees as detrimental to American businesses and farmers.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi repeatedly has said that she wants to “get to yes” on the deal, but first needed revisions.

Several weeks ago, Democrats outlined changes they want that would address concerns over labor, environmental and pharmaceutical provisions of the proposed trade pact.

Lighthizer’s submission would be in response to the Democrats’ demands, which have been under negotiation for several months.

Details of the Democrats’ formal proposals and Lighthizer’s response were not available.

The source said Representative Steve Scalise, the No. 2 House Republican, during Wednesday’s discussions with Lighthizer urged House approval of the USMCA before Canada’s national elections, which are set for Oct. 21.

Reporting by Richard Cowan; Editing by Dan Grebler

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