The Senate overwhelmingly approved a new North American trade agreement Thursday that rewrites the rules of trade with Canada and Mexico and gives President Trump a major policy win even as senators turn full attention to his impeachment trial, the AP reports. The vote was 89-10. The measure goes to Trump for his signature. It would replace the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement, which tore down most trade barriers and triggered a surge in trade. But Trump and other critics blamed that pact for encouraging US companies to move their manufacturing plants south of the border to take advantage of low-wage Mexican laborers.
Passage of the trade bill came one day after Trump signed a new trade agreement with China, easing trade tensions between the economic powers. “Quite a week of substantive accomplishments for the nation, for the president and for our international trade," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell shortly before the vote on the US-Mexico-Canada deal. While the administration completed its negotiations with Canada and Mexico more than a year ago, Democrats in the House insisted on changes to the pact that they say make it more likely Mexico will follow through on its commitments. As part of those negotiations, the administration agreed to drop a provision that offered expensive biologic drugs—made from living cells—10 years of protection from knockoff competition.
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